Ocular Health in Patients With Rosacea and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Ocular symptoms in patients with rosacea--inflammation, dry eye, and surface dysfunction—are quantified.

In adult patients with rosacea, meibomian gland dysfunction is common and may lead to ophthalmological issues such as inflammation, dry eye, and surface dysfunction, according to study findings published in Arquivos Brasileiros De Oftalmologia.

As many as 72% of patients with rosacea have ocular symptoms, most of which are minor and broad-based and therefore not recognized, sometimes leading to misdiagnosis, the investigators acknowledged.

To quantify ocular symptoms in patients with rosacea, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional, observational, non-interventional study that included 93 participants, of whom 53 represented the control cohort and 40 the rosacea cohort. The primary outcome was an objective comparison between cohorts of ocular surface, meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eye, and ocular surface staining. The rosacea cohort (69% women; 47.34±12.62 years of age) was found to have no significant differences in visual acuity (P =.987), tear film parameters (tear meniscus height (P =.338), noninvasive tear film rupture time (P =.228), invasive rupture time (P =.471), Schirmer’s test scores (P =.244), conjunctival hyperemia (P =.106), and fluorescein staining (P =.489) when compared with the control cohort (no demographic information supplied).

The rosacea cohort did show significant differences compared with the control cohort in meibography evaluations (P =.026), mucous layer integrity (P =.015), ocular surface symptoms (P <.0001), eyelid differences in glandular expressibility (P <.001), glandular secretion pattern (P <.001), and telangiectasia (P <.001), according to the researchers.

Study limitations included the cross-sectional, single-center design, failure to investigate demodex infection, and failure to reveal the demographic comparison of the control cohort which may or may not match the observational cohort.

Researchers concluded that, “Meibomian gland dysfunction…can be observed in morphological findings from meibography as well as lipid secretion impairment, leading to evaporative dry eye, ocular surface dysfunction, and inflammation.” They suggest their results may find a useful application in screening and follow-up related to ocular health, and they urge more studies of meibomian gland dysfunction related to rosacea.


Barbosa EB, Tavares CM, Silva DFLD, Santos LS, França AFEDC, Alves M. Characterization of meibomian gland dysfunction in patients with rosacea.Arq Bras Oftalmol. Published online March 21, 2022. doi:10.5935/0004-2749.20230043