Electronic Device Screen Time and Meibomian Gland Morphology in Children


Purpose: To investigate changes in meibomian gland morphology and impact of electronic device usage time on meibomian glands in pediatric age group.

Methods: In this prospective study, 149 eyes of 149 children were enrolled. The participants also completed the Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) questionnaire and provided information regarding weekly hours spent in front of a digital screen. Meibography was performed in all subjects. Grading of images was evaluated using a previously validated 5-point meiboscale (0–4) for meibomian gland atrophy and a 3-point scale for meibomian gland tortuosity (0–2).

Results: Of the 149 enrolled children, 83 (55.7%) were female and 66 (44.3%) male. The mean age was 13.0 ± 3.0 (range: 5–18) years. The mean loss of meibomian gland area was 20.80 ± 9.32%. The mean meiboscore was 1.20 ± 0.58 for gland atrophy and the mean tortuosity score was 0.99 ± 0.62. The mean screen time was 29.32 ± 16.18 hr/week. There was a weak and significantly positive correlation between loss of meibomian gland area and screen time (r = 0.210, p = 0.010). There was a weak and significantly positive correlation between meiboscore for gland atrophy and screen time (r = 0.188, p = 0.022). We found a weak but significantly positive correlation between meibomian gland tortuosity and screen time (r = 0.142, p = 0.033).

Conclusion: Meibomian gland morphology may show changes in pediatric age group and excessive screen time may be a factor triggering these changes in gland morphology.


Meibography, Meibomian Gland, Pediatric Age, SPEED Score

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