Research suggests practitioners could have a new screening tool for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) diagnosis. According to a recent study, an ocular surface workup based on automated noninvasive measurements highlights parameters that lead to a reliable and more precise diagnosis of MGD.

Researchers from Italy evaluated Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) score, noninvasive break-up time (BUT), lipid layer thickness, meibomian gland loss and tear osmolarity in 149 patients with MGD and 27 healthy controls. Results showed that OSDI, noninvasive BUT and meibomian gland loss were significantly different between MGD patients and control patients. Of that group, noninvasive BUT had the highest diagnostic power, followed closely by meibomian gland loss. Additionally, the researchers found that combining these two results could boost specificity of MGD diagnosis.

“Although no single test has proved able to reach the diagnosis with sufficient accuracy, MGD may be strongly suspected when one between noninvasive BUT and meibography combined in parallel is abnormal,” the study concluded. “In case of positivity of either noninvasive BUT or meibomian gland loss, subsequent qualitative clinical tests should be performed to achieve a reliable diagnosis and more precise characterization of MGD.”

Giannaccare G, Vigo L, Pellegrini M, et al. Ocular surface workup with automated noninvasive measurements for the diagnosis of meibomian gland dysfunction. Cornea. 2018;37(6):740-5.