Back to Journals » Clinical Ophthalmology » Volume 13

Influence of bacterial burden on meibomian gland dysfunction and ocular surface disease

Authors Nattis A, Perry HD, Rosenberg ED, Donnenfeld ED

Received 9 May 2019

Accepted for publication 26 June 2019

Published 12 July 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 1225—1234


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Alanna Nattis,1 Henry D Perry2,3 Eric D Rosenberg,4 Eric D Donnenfeld5

1Department of Ophthalmology, Lindenhurst Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.C., Babylon, NY 11702, USA; 2Department of Ophthalmology, Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow, NY 11554, USA; 3Department of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island, Rockville Centre, NY 11570, USA; 4Department of Ophthalmology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA; 5Department of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island, Garden City, NY 11530, USA

Purpose: Bacterial burden on the eyelid margin and within meibomian glands was evaluated for influence on specific ocular surface disease (OSD) markers across the meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) spectrum.
Methods: In this prospective, observational, single-center study, 40 patients were divided into 4 equal groups of 10 that encompassed increasingly worse MGD/OSD categories. All patients answered the standard Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire, and underwent tear osmolarity testing (TOT), Schirmer 1, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) testing, meibography, and lissamine green staining. Cultures of eyelid margins and meibomian gland secretions were directly plated on blood, chocolate, and Sabouraud agar; smears were sent for gram and Papinicolau evaluation.
Results: Mean patient age was 55.25±17.22 years; there were 10 males and 30 females. TOT and MMP-9 testing were similar across groups. Culture positivity was 62.5% for right eyes, 70% for left eyes, and was not statistically different across groups (for both eyelid margin and meibomian glands). The majority of cultures were positive for coagulase-negative staphylococcus (CNS).
Conclusion: This study is in concordance with others, citing the predominance of CNS within the biofilm of both “normal” and clinically significant MGD/OSD patients. Our study exemplifies that symptoms of OSD do not necessarily correlate with degree of clinical exam findings, nor culture positivity. These results argue that bacterial burden should be reconsidered as a direct risk factor and treatment target for MGD/OSD patients.

Keywords: blepharitis, biofilm, dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction, ocular surface disease

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]