Purpose: We hypothesized that women with primary (pSS) and secondary Sjögren syndrome (sSS; with systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE] or rheumatoid arthritis [RA]) have meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). We sought to test our hypothesis. Methods: Subjects with pSS, sSS + SLE, sSS + RA, and non-SS-related MGD were recruited from the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation or outpatient clinics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine or Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The control population was recruited from the Greater Boston area. After providing written informed consent, the subjects underwent an eye examination and/or completed two questionnaires that assess symptoms of dry eye disease (DED). Results: Our results demonstrate that pSS and sSS patients have MGD. These subjects had meibomian gland orifice metaplasia, an increased number of occluded meibomian gland orifices, and a reduced quality of meibomian gland secretions. Further, patients with pSS, sSS + SLE, sSS + RA, and MGD had significant alterations in their tear film, lid margin, cornea, and conjunctiva. Symptoms of DED were increased ∼10-fold in all pSS, sSS, and MGD groups relative to controls. Conclusions: Our findings support our hypothesis and show that individuals with pSS, sSS + SLE, and sSS + RA have MGD. In addition, our study indicates that patients with pSS and sSS have both aqueous-deficient and evaporative DED.

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