Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2021


Did you know? Asian people are approximately 3 times more likely to get MGD than people with European ancestry.

There are about 25-40 Meibomian glands in the upper eyelid, and 20-30 in the lower eyelid.

01 | Introduction

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a common eye condition, wherein tiny glands in your eyelids are affected. The Meibomian glands make an oil called meibum. Meibum, water, and mucus form the layers of tear film. This film keeps the eyes moist and functional. The oil protects the eye and prevents the water layer from drying out too quickly.

02 | Causes

Changes to the amount or quality of meibum and glands leads to MGD. It is usually age-related, but can also be associated with certain medical issues, such as: 

  • High cholesterol & triglycerides
  • Allergic conjunctivitis & other eye diseases
  • Inflamed or damaged eyelid or cornea
  • Bacterial infection
  • Autoimmune diseases

03 | Complications

MGD is the most common form of dry eye disease, and it can lead to blepharitis. Untreated MGD also raises the risk of post-operative infection and inflammation. In late stages, MGD can lead to cornea disease.

04 | Diagnosis & Treatment

An examination of the eyelids and gland openings as well as a Schirmer’s test may be administered to diagnose MGD. 

In the early stages, patients can successfully manage MGD at home by using arm compresses over the eyelids for 5 minutes, twice daily. Non-soap cleanser should be used daily to help unblock gland openings.  

In more advanced cases, your physician may recommend medications such as lubricants, antibiotics and steroids to manage symptoms. 

Learn More

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