Thermal Pulsation Treatment Improves Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Symptoms

Dry Eye
The rapid treatment results may prove particularly advantageous for patients with severe dry eye or those undergoing refractive or cataract surgery.

Thermal pulsation treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) yields significant improvements in meibomian gland secretion, tear film stability, and dry eye symptoms, according to a study published in Eye & Contact Lens. Results are measurable within as little as 1 week and can persist for 1 month.

Researchers included 60 eyes from 30 adult patients (mean age 52.9±11.9 years, 20 women) in the prospective, nonrandomized, open label, multicenter study. Inclusion criteria included a Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) questionnaire score higher than 6, and a total meibomian gland secretion (MGS) score less than or equal to 12 in each eye. The primary efficacy outcomes were changes from baseline in the meibomian gland secretion score and tear breakup time examined at 1 week and 1 month after the initial visit. Secondary efficacy outcomes were changes from baseline in SPEED and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores at 1 week and 1 month.

The researchers found a statistically significant improvement in primary (mean meibomian gland secretion score and mean tear breakup time) and secondary (mean SPEED and mean OSDI scores) efficacy outcomes at both 1 week and 1 month after treatment compared with baseline (all P <.001). They noted neither adverse events nor statistically significant changes in intraocular pressure or lid abnormalities during the study period.  

“This study found that a single 8- to 10-minute treatment with the Systane iLux thermal pulsation system produced statistically significant and clinically relevant improvements in key study outcomes at both 1 week and 1 month after treatment,” according to the investigators. “Although the 1-month results of this study further support previous findings that Systane iLux can provide an extended period of comfort, the 1-week efficacy demonstrates potential benefits for patients seeking quicker relief, including patients with severe dry eye and patients planning to undergo refractive or cataract surgery.”

Study limitations include failure to monitor at-home therapies, such as artificial tears, warm compresses, and lid hygiene, the possibility of bias assessments due to the investigator and participants being unmasked, and the absence of a control group. 

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Schanzlin D, Owen JP, Klein S, Yeh TN, Merchea MM, Bullimore MA. Efficacy of the Systane iLux thermal pulsation system for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction after 1 week and 1 month: a prospective study. Eye Cont Lens. 2022;48(4):155-161. doi:10.1097/ICL.0000000000000847