The effects of the systemic isotretinoin treatment on ocular surface and meibomian glands: a prospective longitudinal study

Eser N. A. , KOCABEYOĞLU S., Atakan N., Irkec M.

CUTANEOUS AND OCULAR TOXICOLOGY, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15569527.2022.2077749
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Environment Index, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Basal epithelium, corneal nerves, in vivo confocal microscopy, isotretinoin, meibomian gland dysfunction, acne vulgaris, IN-VIVO, INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP, CONFOCAL MICROSCOPY, DYSFUNCTION REPORT, DRY EYE, CORNEA, NERVES, ACNE, ACID


Purpose To assess the effects of systemic isotretinoin therapy (SIT) on the ocular surface, meibomian glands (MG) and cornea microstructure in acne vulgaris (AV) patients. Methods Patients with AV (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20) were enrolled in the study. All participants underwent ocular surface tests in the order of ocular surface disease index (OSDI) questionnaire, corneal sensitivity, tear break-up time (BUT), fluorescein and lissamine green (LG) staining and Schirmer II test with anaesthesia. MG alterations were evaluated with meibography for upper (UE) and lower eyelids (LE) separately. Corneal basal epithelium and subbasal nerve plexus (SNP) were evaluated using In Vivo Confocal Microscopy (IVCM). Results Schirmer II test with anaesthesia, BUT, corneal sensitivity, fluorescein and LG staining grades and OSDI score results showed no difference between the control group and the baseline of the patient group. Whereas the meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) grades, UE and LE meiboscores were higher in the patient group at the baseline (p = 0.013, p = 0.004, p = 0.008 respectively). The Control group possessed higher numbers of total and long nerve fibres compared with patients at the baseline (p <= 0.001 for both two values). Compared to the baseline and the third month, BUT decreased and fluorescein staining grades increased (p = 0.017 and p = 0.043, respectively). MGD grades, UE and LE meiboscores increased in the third month compared to the baseline (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p = 0.008 respectively). Basal epithelial cell density (BECD) decreased in the third month of SIT (p = 0.043). Conclusions This prospective study showed that systemic Isotretinoin treatment effects not only ocular surface parameters but also corneal and Meibomian glands structure. Considering early alterations in the course of treatment, ophthalmological assessment and follow-up during SIT are mandatory.