Contact lenses affect meibomian gland function

A review of the literature on meibomian gland (MG) health and contact lens (CL) use shows “conflicting relationships” and the need for future longitudinal studies with standardized clinical assessments of the meibomian glands – and Until these are performed, CL carriers should have a full evaluation for MG, “particularly because recent evidence suggests that meibomian gland treatments can restore meibomian gland structure and function. Meibomius”, according to a study published in Contact lens and anterior eye.

The researchers performed a literature search on conducted on or before May 15, 2021, searching for “meibomian gland(s)” plus “contact lens(es)” or “meibography” plus “lens(s) of contact) “. Only articles available in full text and written in English were included. Articles had to discuss the impact of contact lenses on MG morphology or function. The classification was made according to the level of evidence presented.

The study authors used reference lists in retrieved articles to find articles they had missed during their main search. They found that the literature indicates that contact lenses impact MG function, but the data is “equivocal” regarding contact lenses inducing structural changes in MG.

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“The literature also indicates that the mechanism(s) by which contact lenses impact MGs are likely multifactorial. Recent evidence suggests that MGs may have some plasticity. Differences detected between studies likely come from assessed populations variety, study designs and length of assessment periods,” according to the report.

“Given the limitations…comparing the study results presented in this article, it is clear that standardization of MG assessment techniques and overall study design is important to move this field forward” , explains the study. “Technology and techniques assessing MG structure and function continue to improve and become more accessible to researchers and clinicians. The time has therefore come to establish standardized protocols and assessment techniques that allow more reliable comparisons of various investigations Standardized protocols for MG evaluations beyond the dry eye The report of the (DEWS) II workshop should be elaborated to allow a better comparison between the results of the study and to move the field towards a consensus.

They add that when their article was published in December 2021, no well-designed randomized clinical trial had yet examined MG function with CL wear, which should be addressed in the future with this type of research.


Rueff EM, Tichenor AA, Ngo W, Pucker AD. A Review of Meibomian Gland Contact Lens Structure, Function, and Wear. Anterior Eye Cont Lens. 2021:101560. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2021.101560

This article originally appeared on Ophthalmology consultant

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