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Randomised assessor-masked trial evaluating topical manuka honey (Optimel) in treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction


Purpose To evaluate the effects of manuka honey eye-drops in the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction.

Methods This is an assessor-masked (single-blind), randomised controlled trial comparing conventional treatment group with interventional group using Optimel 16% manuka honey topical eye-drops. 59 patients were recruited to the study and randomised into two groups: one given regular lubricants and the other given Optimel 16% manuka honey eye-drops. The Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) score was measured at baseline and on follow-up. 4 patients were lost to follow-up. Multiple ocular surface parameters were graded from slit lamp examination by a masked assessor. Results were compared from baseline to follow-up date 3 weeks later.

Results Patients in the conventional treatment group demonstrated minimal difference in SPEED score at 3-week follow-up (mean difference 1.087, p=0.183), which was not statistically significant. However, measurements of tear film break-up time, corneal surface stain (Oxford), lid margin, conjunctival redness, as well as meibum quality and expressibility showed significant improvements at 3 weeks (p<0.01). Patients in the manuka honey eye-drops group showed significant difference after 3 weeks in SPEED score (mean difference 2.53, p=0.006), as well as in lid margin redness, conjunctival redness, corneal surface stain (Oxford), and meibum quality and expressibility (p=0.000).

Conclusions Optimel 16% manuka honey eye-drops showed significant improvement in symptoms and objective signs in meibomian gland dysfunction and are an effective alternative treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction.

Trial registration number NCT04457648.

  • cornea
  • evaporative dry eye disease
  • meibomian gland dysfunction
  • manuka honey eye drops
  • ocular surface
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