Temporal variations in meibomian gland structure—A pilot study

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Purpose: To investigate whether there is a measurable change in meibomian gland morphological characteristics over the course of a day (12h) and over a month.

Methods: The study enrolled 15 participants who attended a total of 11 study visits spanning a 5-week period. To assess diurnal changes in meibomian glands, seven visits were conducted on a single day, each 2h apart. For monthly assessment, participants attended an additional visit at the same time of the day every week for three consecutive weeks. Meibography using the LipiView® II system was performed at each visit, and meibomian gland morphological parameters were calculated using custom semi-automated software. Specifically, six central glands were analysed for gland length ratio, gland width, gland area, gland intensity and gland tortuosity.

Results: The average meibomian gland morphological metrics did not exhibit significant changes during the course of a day or over a month. Nonetheless, certain individual gland metrics demonstrated notable variation over time, both diurnally and monthly. Specifically, meibomian gland length ratio, area, width and tortuosity exhibited significant changes both diurnally and monthly when assessed on a gland-by-gland basis.

Conclusions: Meibomian glands demonstrated measurable structural change
over short periods of time (hours and days). These results have implications for innovation in gland imaging and for developing precision monitoring of gland structure to assess meibomian gland  health more accurately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Early online date6 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2024


  • meibography
  • meibomian gland function
  • meibomian gland imaging
  • meibomian gland structure
  • meibomian glands


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