Elevated Meibomian Gland Loss Rates Detected in Women Who Are Pregnant

Elevated meibomian gland loss rates in women who are pregnant warrant closer ocular surface disease monitoring.

Meibomian gland (MG) loss is higher among women who are pregnant compared with those who are not pregnant, according to a study published in Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy. This finding suggests that women who are pregnant should receive close follow-up to monitor for ocular surface disease. 

Researchers enrolled 146 women and stratified them into 3 groups based on pregnancy status: individuals who were between 16 to 20 weeks pregnant ([P16]; n=49; mean age, 28.4±5.4 years), women who were between 32 to 36 weeks pregnant ([P32]; n=46; mean age, 28.5 ±5.9 years) and participants who were not pregnant ([P0]; n=51; mean age, 26.1 ±4.8).

Participants underwent comprehensive ophthalmic exams which included non-invasive first tear break-up time (NIF-BUT), average break-up time (NIAvg-BUT), non-contact meibography, MG loss rate, and anterior segment analysis. Patients also completed the ocular surface disease index (OSDI).

[W]e found that [meibomian gland] loss was high in pregnant individuals in the [meibomian gland] analysis performed by meibography. In addition, we have seen that with a corneal topography device ocular surface parameters and studies related to dry eye in pregnant women can be performed in a non-invasive, objective and documentary manner.

Investigators report mean NIF-BUT values of 4.7±2.7, 6±3 and 6.7±3.1 seconds, for the P16, P32, and P0 groups, respectively (P =.055). The NIF-BUT values ranged from 1.2 to 13.4 seconds.

Mean MG loss rates for the upper lid in the P16, P32 and P0 groups were 35.3%±12.6, 33.4%±11.4 and 15.5%±5.4, respectively. Lower lid loss rates were 40.5%±18.6, 40.5%± 14.4 and 20.1%±8.1 for the P16, P32, and P0 groups, respectively. Upper and lower lid percentage rates were significantly higher among women who were pregnant compared with individuals who were not pregnant (P =.000 for both). 

The report revealed no statistically significant differences between the 3 groups for OSDI score (P >.05).

“[W]e found that MG loss was high in pregnant individuals in the MG analysis performed by meibography,” according to the researchers. “In addition, we have seen that with a corneal topography device ocular surface parameters and studies related to dry eye in pregnant women can be performed in a non-invasive, objective and documentary manner.”

Study limitations include a small sample size and short duration. 

This article originally appeared on Optometry Advisor

References:

Sarikaya S, Acet Y. The effect of pregnancy on meibomian gland, tear film, cornea and anterior segment parameters. Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther Published online August 17, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.pdpdt.2022.103070