The meibomian glands produce a lipid film that covers the eye to prevent rapid evaporation of tears.
These glands are considered to be an androgen-dependent organ and androgen deficiency has been found to be a major cause of meibomian gland dysfunction:
Dysfunctional and atrophied meibomian glands were observed in Post-Accutane sufferers of chronic dry eye, many years after treatment:
These patients all took isotretinoin in their teens and gradually developed dry eye symptoms that persisted for several years after discontinuing the medication. Before presenting to University of California Berkeley’s Dry Eye Clinic, these patients had pursued multiple treatment modalities, such as warm compresses, fish oil supplements, and artificial tears, but with limited success.
Rats treated with Accutane had similar meibomian gland defects, with a highly significant decrease in the percentage of AR positive cells after 12 weeks. Administration of eye drops containing DHEA largely prevented the structural abnormalities, the changes in cell proliferation, and the decrease of AR-expressing cells.
M. A. A. Ibrahim and W. M. Elwan, “Role of topical dehydroepiandrosterone in ameliorating isotretinoin-induced Meibomian gland dysfunction in adult male albino rat,” Ann. Anat. , vol. 211, pp. 78–87, May 2017.