Eyelid Warming Treatment Manages Dry Eye

Research shows treatment with an eyelid warming device can help reduce dry signs and symptoms.

A single treatment with an eyelid warming device effectively reduced signs and symptoms of dry eye in patients with meibomian gland disease, according to research results published in Optometry and Vision Science. 

There have been few studies of the TearCare® system (Sight Sciences), designed to “melt and clear obstructions of the meibomian glands within the eyelids.” One single-center, randomized, parallel-group study of patients with dry eye disease found the device an effective treatment option, with a 6-month extension study identifying statistically significant improvements from baseline. 

In the current study, researchers set out to evaluate both the safety and efficacy of the system in treating the symptoms and signs of meibomian gland disease-associated dry eye disease spanning a 3-month period. 

In a retrospective analysis of data collected from a single center, researchers reviewed safety and efficacy data at 3 points: before treatment, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks after treatment. Collected data included patient demographics, Standardized Patient Evaluation of Dryness questionnaire responses, and meibomian gland expressability scores. 

The study included 92 patients (median age, 62.3 years; 78.3% women; 95.6% White). Median pretreatment Standardized Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness total score was 16 (interquartile range [IQR], 11-20) — significantly different from the posttreatment score of 9 (5.5-15). Median percent change decrease in scores was 33.3% (7.9%-62.2%), with a maximum decrease of 100%. Changes in this score were not significantly correlated with age or sex. 

Evaluations of individual symptoms showed evidence of “significant” changes following treatment in terms of dryness, soreness, and fatigue severity; burning severity was also significantly different in the analyses. 

Total meibomian gland expression scores in each eye were significantly different before and after treatment, with median counts increasing from 5 to 9 in the right eye and 4 to 9 in the left eye. Scores for individual quadrants were also all significantly different, with medians ranging from 1 to 2 pretreatment and a median of 3 for each measure post-treatment. 

Study limitations include the use of a convenience sample, the lack of a priori sample size analysis, and the potential for confounding factors that could not be evaluated due to the retrospective study design. 

“The combination of meibum liquefaction and manual lid expression to clear hardened obstructions from the meibomian glands results in clinically significant improvements in the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease,” according to the research. “Additional large-scale, prospective studies, including morphological evaluations, are needed to confirm these results.” 

Disclosure: The study author declared affiliations with the biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. This clinical trial was supported by Sight Sciences. Please see the original reference for a full list of author disclosures. 


Chester T. A single-center retrospective trial of a blink-assisted eyelid device in treating the signs and symptoms of dry eye. Optom Vis Sci. 2021;98(6):605-612. doi:10.1097/OPX.0000000000001711