Tear Film and Meibomian Gland Characteristics in Adolescents

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To establish normative values of ocular surface parameters in adolescents and explore factors associated with meibomian gland (MG) dropout. Methods: Subjects between 8 and 17 years of age were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. All subjects were given dry eye and lifestyle questionnaires. Tear film assessments and meibography were performed. Statistical tests included a one-way analysis of variance to test differences in ocular surface parameters between age groups and linear correlations between clinical findings and lifestyle factors. Results: Two hundred twenty-five subjects completed the study. Thirty-four subjects (15%) reported ocular discomfort, primarily itching. Tear meniscus height increased with age and was greatest in the oldest subjects (mean = 0.25 mm, P < 0.01). Across all subjects, meibography showed that 39% of the upper and 39% of the lower eyelids had MG dropout. The average MG dropout score was 0.50 ± 0.57 for the upper eyelids and was 0.67 ± 0.93 for the lower eyelids. There was no correlation between phone/tablet usage and MG dropout for either the upper (P = 0.39) or lower (P = 0.56) eyelids.Conclusions:The frequency of ocular symptoms in these adolescents was 15%. Because MG dropout is thought to increase with age, it was unexpected to observe that most subjects in this study had mild MG dropout in 1 or both eyelids. Although electronic device usage did not correlate with MG dropout in this study sample, it is still unclear what the effects of long-term digital device usage may have as the subjects age.
  • Published In

  • Cornea  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tichenor AA; Ziemanski JF; Ngo W; Nichols JJ; Nichols KK
  • Start Page

  • 1475
  • End Page

  • 1482
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 12