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Decreased Surface Temperature of Tarsal Conjunctiva in Patients With Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Reiko Arita, MD, PhD; Rika Shirakawa, MD; Shuji Maeda, MD, PhD; Masahiko Yamaguchi, MD, PhD; Yuichi Ohashi, MD, PhD; Shiro Amano, MD, PhD
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;131(6):818-819. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.1895.
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Meibomian glands secrete lipid into the tear film, thereby forming a thin oily layer on the tear film to prevent excessive evaporation of the tear film.1 Obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is characterized by changes in the viscosity of the expressed lipid.2 Eyelid temperature significantly influences not only the secretion but also the delivery of the meibum.3 Thermography is a noninvasive method for measuring the surface temperature of an object, first applied to the eye by Mapstone.4 The purposes of our study were to compare the surface temperature of the cornea and tarsal conjunctiva in patients with obstructive MGD and healthy control subjects and to examine the correlation between the surface temperature and ocular surface parameters.

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Figure. Representative cases of patients with obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction (A-C) and a healthy control subject (D). Red indicates warmer areas; blue, cooler areas. Patients with obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction commonly had blue areas in the upper and lower palpebral conjunctivae, whereas control subjects had orange areas. The blue area in patients with obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction mostly corresponded with the area of meibomian gland loss detected with meibography. The mean surface temperature in the upper and lower palpebral conjunctivae in patients with obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction was significantly lower than that in healthy control subjects.

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