Long-term (12-month) improvement in meibomian gland function and reduced dry eye symptoms with a single thermal pulsation treatment


  • Jack V Greiner DO PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Boston Ocular Surface Center, Boston and Winchester, Massachusetts, USA
    • Schepens Eye Research Institute, The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Competing/conflicts of interest: No stated conflict of interest.
  • Funding sources: Valerie and Walter Winchester Grant, Boston Ocular Surface Center, Boston and Winchester, MA, USA, and TearScience, Inc., Morrisville, NC, USA.
  • This study was presented in part at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Symposium on Cataract, IOL and Refractive Surgery, April 29, 2011, San Diego, CA, USA.

Correspondence: Dr Jack V Greiner, Boston Ocular Surface Center, 955 Main Street, Suite 307, Winchester, MA 01890-1961, USA. Email: greiner@schepens.harvard.edu



To determine the 1-year post-treatment dry eye status of subjects with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye symptoms after receiving a single LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System treatment.


Single-centre, prospective, observational, open-label, 1-month-registered clinical trial with a 1-year follow-up examination.


Patients with evaporative dry eye disease with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye symptoms who had participated in the registered 1-month clinical trial.


Eighteen of 30 subjects initially enrolled were able to return for a 1-year follow-up. Both eyes of all patients were treated with a single 12-min treatment using the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. Meibomian gland function, tear break-up time and dry eye symptoms were measured. Data are presented for pretreatment (baseline), and 1-month and 1-year post-treatment.

Main Outcome Measures

Meibomian gland secretion scores, and tear break-up time and dry eye symptoms.


Significant improvement in meibomian gland secretion scores from baseline measurements (4.0 ± 3.4) to 1-month post-treatment (11.3 ± 4.7; P < 0.0005) was maintained at 1-year (7.3 ± 4.6; P < 0.05). Baseline tear break-up time (4.9 ± 3.0) was significantly increased at 1-month (9.5 ± 6.9; P < 0.05); however, this improvement was no longer evident at 1-year post-treatment (6.0 ± 4.4). The significant improvement in symptom scores on Ocular Surface Disease Index and Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness questionnaires observed at 1-month (P < 0.0005) was maintained at 1-year (Ocular Surface Disease Index [P < 0.05]; Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness [P < 0.0005]).


A single 12-min treatment with the Lipi Flow Thermal Pulsation System offers an effective treatment for evaporative dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction resulting in significant and sustained improvement in signs and symptoms for up to 1 year.