You may have heard a lot about dry eye and, fortunately, there are some great medications and treatments available today. Most treatments are focused on temporary tear replacement and managing the inflammatory response of the eye. While these approaches can be helpful, it is extremely important to assess the health of Meibomian glands in your eyelid. These glands produce the natural and protective oils in your tears. Blockage of the Meibomian glands is the primary problem in most dry eye, and it is treatable. When these glands are blocked or not working, it’s called MGD Meibomian Gland dysfunction and this is the leading cause of dry eye symptoms.
There are about 25 to 40 Meibomian glands in the upper eyelid and 20 to 30 in the lower eyelid. The function of these glands is to secrete oils onto the surface of the eye. This oil helps in protecting the tears from evaporating too quickly and are essential for long-term visual comfort.
MGD can become more common as we age. It is also commonly observed in patients using digital devices for long hours, contact lens wearers, use of glaucoma medications. When MGD goes untreated, it leads to dry eye and other symptoms of ocular discomfort, redness and unstable vision
That is why assessing Meibomian gland health should be a part of your regular eye exam. MGD is easiest to treat in its earliest stages.
MGD is most effectively treated when the stagnated gland contents are directly removed. This can be performed in your doctor’s office with the help of innovative technology. Other treatment options include the daily use of systemic medications and daily ongoing use of hot compression and lid massage.