Differences in microbial composition on the lid margin and conjunctiva may differentiate individuals with dry eye disease (DED) and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) from individuals with the disorders, according to a study published in Experimental Eye Research. This finding lends credibility to MGD and DED treatments that attempt to alter the ocular surface microbiome, the report suggests.
Researchers included 47 participants who completed the prospective, single center, non interventional investigation and stratified patients according to MGD status. Individuals with MGD (n=15; women, 66.7%; mean age, 42.9 years), MGD with lacrimal dysfunction (MGD+LD; n=17; 70.5% women; mean age, 40 years) and control group participants (n=15; 59.6%; mean age, 39.5 years) underwent bilateral conjunctiva and lid margin swabbing 3 times during a 3-month period. The team examined microbial composition after collecting bacteria samples from 45 ocular surface sites.
Overall, microbial composition from the ocular surface sites showed significant differences between the MGD, MGD+LD, and control groups (P =.001), according to the report. There was also less diversity in bacteria type among women compared with men for both the conjunctiva (P <.04) and eyelid margin (P <.018).
The conjunctiva in the MGD+LD group had more Pseudomonas azotoformans, P. oleovorans and Caballeronia zhejiangensis compared with the MGD and control groups. The MGD group had more Corynebacterium macginleyi and C. kroppenstedtii compared with the control group. The lid margin in the MGD group contained more C. macginleyi, C. accolens, and C. simulans compared with both the MGD+LD and control group (P <.05 for all).
“The resident ocular surface bacteria may have a role in maintaining homeostasis and perturbation may contribute to disease development,” according to the study authors.
Study limitations include a small sample size and single center design.
Disclosure: This research was supported by Johnson & Johnson Vision. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Ozkan J, Majzoub ME, Coroneo M, Thomas T, Willcox M. Ocular microbiome changes in dry eye disease and meibomian gland dysfunction. Exp Eye Res. Published online August 15, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.exer.2023.109615