The most common cause of dry eye disease (DED) is meibomian gland dysfunction. Treatment typically involves using a warm eye compress, but vectored thermal pulsation treatment (ie, LipiFlow) is a promising alternative. A new study in Cornea evaluated its efficacy.
Researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared the efficacy of vectored thermal pulsation treatment and warm compress treatment in treating DED. The primary outcome was gland function. Secondary outcomes included tear breakup time, Schirmer test, tear osmolarity, lipid layer thickness, Standard Patient Evaluation for Eye Dryness, and the improvement of subjective symptoms assessed using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI). PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov registries were searched for studies published before July 2018. The study comprised 4 trials with 385 patients.
Results showed that significantly greater improvement was observed in meibomian gland function (mean difference [MD]: 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95, 3.43), tear breakup time (MD: 1.08; 95% CI, 0.06, 2.10), and Standard Patient Evaluation for Eye Dryness (MD: −2.76; 95% CI, −4.22, −1.30) at 2 to 4 weeks in the vectoral thermal pulsation group than in the warm compress therapy group. OSDI scores significantly decreased in the vectoral thermal pulsation group compared to the warm compress treatment group during the same timeframe (MD: −8.61; 95% CI, −13.62, −3.61), and at 3 months (MD: −6.92; 95% CI, −11.95, −1.89).
Even just a 12-minute treatment with vectored thermal pulsation was more effective than warm compress treatment in treating DED.
Pang S-P, Chen Y-T, Tam K-W, Lin I-C, Loh E-W. Efficacy of vectored thermal pulsation and warm compress treatments in meibomian gland dysfunction: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cornea. 2019;38(6):690-697. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000001907.