Purpose: To investigate and compare the effect of warm compresses on meibomian gland dysfunction and Demodex folliculorum blepharitis.
Methods: Forty-two subjects (13 males, 29 females; mean age of 56.45 years) enrolled and completed the two-month warm compress treatment study. Three warm compress therapies were compared: Warm face cloth, MGDRx EyeBag® and OPTASETM Moist Heat Mask. Subjects attended for four visits: baseline, two weeks, four weeks, and eight weeks. Subjective symptoms, osmolarity, non-invasive tear break-up time, ocular surface staining, Schirmer I test, meibum expressibility and clarity, and eyelash manipulation and epilation to assess for the presence of Demodex folliculorum, were measured at each visit.
Results: Meibomian gland dysfunction, based on a composite score of meibum quality and expressibility, reduced significantly with the MGDRx EyeBag® and the OPTASETM Moist Heat Mask (p < .05). There was no significant difference in efficacy for treating meibomian gland dysfunction between the two devices (p = .29). No improvement in meibomian gland dysfunction was detected with the warm face cloth. Only the OPTASETM Moist Heat Mask significantly reduced the quantity of Demodex folliculorum over eight-weeks of treatment (p = .036, only baseline to week eight significant p = .008). Symptoms and ocular surface staining improved significantly in all three groups (p < .05). There was no significant change observed in osmolarity, non-invasive tear break-up time or Schirmer I test within each group (p > .05, respectively).
Conclusion: The MGDRx EyeBag® and the OPTASETM Moist Heat Mask exhibited superior efficacy in treating signs and symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction, compared to the use of a warm face cloth, over the eight-week period. The OPTASETM Moist Heat Mask demonstrated dual therapeutic abilities, treating both meibomian gland dysfunction and Demodex folliculorum blepharitis. Repeated application of heat for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction may continue to present a good home-remedy option for patients.