What are Meibomian Glands?
Meibomian glands are the tiny oil glands which line the margin of the eyelids (the edges which touch when the eyelids are closed). These glands secrete oil which coats the surface of our eyes and keeps the water component of our tears from evaporating (drying out). Together, the water and the oil layer make up the tear film.
The tear film lubricates and keeps the surface of our eyes healthy; it also affects how we see. If either the water or oil layer is decreased, or is of poor quality, we may have symptoms of irritation and/or blurred vision.
What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) refers to the condition where the glands are not secreting enough oil or when the oil they secrete is of poor quality. Often, the oil gland openings get plugged up so that less oil comes out of the glands. The oil that does make it out of the glands can be granular (crusty) or otherwise unhealthy and can cause irritation.
MGD is very common. In the early stages, patients are often asymptomatic, but if left untreated, MGD can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms and eyelid inflammation. The oil glands become blocked with thickened secretions. Chronically clogged glands eventually become unable to secrete oil which results in permanent changes in the tear film and dry eyes.
• Stickiness/ Crustiness
• Light Sensitivity
• Red Eyes
• Foreign Body Sensation
• Intermittent Blurry Vision
A common treatment for MGD is applying warm compresses to the eyelids, followed by massaging the eyelids. The goal of this treatment is to unclog the openings of the meibomian glands. In some cases we recommend using a warm, moist washcloth over the closed eyelids. Others times we recommend using a specially designed eye mask to deliver heat to the eyelids. In either case, the heat therapy to the eyelids is followed by massaging the eyelids to expel the melted oils from the glands. Unfortunately, warm compresses and lid massages often aren’t sufficient to effectively treat meibomian gland dysfunction and eliminate symptoms.
Today, there are many treatment options for MGD. They may be used separately or in combination with each other. Some treatments options for meibomian gland dysfunction include:
Only an eye doctor can tell for sure if you have meibomian gland dysfunction and provide the best MGD treatment options for your needs. If you have signs and symptoms of MGD, call our office to get relief.
401 W. Fairmont Pkwy. Ste A
La Porte, TX 77571
Ph (281) 471-6546
Fax (281) 471-3411