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Meibography-Guided Electroepilation for Congenital Distichiasis: A Novel Surgical Technique.

PURPOSE: Congenital distichiasis is managed either by ablation, using laser, cryotherapy, or electroepilation, or by surgical excision with mucous membrane grafting. Ablative procedures are usually blind as the exact depth of distichiatic eyelashes is unknown. The described surgical technique utilizes meibography for imaging the root and depth of distichiatic eyelashes that aided in performing electroepilation.

METHODS: Six patients (n = 24 eyelids; mean age 15.5 ± 12.2 years) underwent infrared meibography (Oculus Keratograph 5 M) and noninvasive tear breakup time prospectively. Eyelashes were electroepilated using a premarked needle inserted at a depth based on meibography findings in 4 patients. Surgical success was defined as no distichiatic eyelash regrowth and functional success was defined as the resolution of symptoms at a minimum of 3 months of follow-up.

RESULTS: All 6 patients had all 4 eyelids involved to varying degrees, with a total of 230 distichiatic eyelashes. The median number of distichiatic eyelashes was 9 in the upper eyelids and 4.5 in the lower eyelids. Meibography revealed visible distichiatic eyelash roots in 70% of eyelashes in the upper eyelid and 87.8% in the lower eyelid, respectively. The median eyelash root depth was 2.7 mm (mean 2.9 mm, range 1.8-5.4 mm). The mean noninvasive tear breakup time was 12.2 seconds despite absent or rudimentary meibomian gland segments seen on meibography. The anatomical success was 75% (12/16 eyelids), and functional success was 87.5% (7/8 eyes) at a median follow-up of 5.5 months.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative infrared meibography in eyelids with congenital distichiasis helps estimate the eyelash depth and can be used to guide eyelash ablation procedures.

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