For further information about meibomian gland dysfunction, schedule an appointment with Dr. Vicki Lin and Dr. Jennifer Yong at iSight Vision Care in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, California.
Meibomian glands are the tiny oil glands that line the margin of the eyelids (the edges which touch when the eyelids are closed). These glands secrete oil that 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.
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. Chronically clogged glands eventually become unable to secrete oil which results in permanent changes in the tear film and dry eyes.
Your doctor will discuss ways to improve eyelid/eyelash hygiene to clear off the dead skin, oil and bacterial which build up. Because this is a chronic condition, treatment and preventative treatment must be done every day including and should include some of the following: warm compresses, massage, and lid scrubs. If the glands are clogged despite at-home treatment, we can perform meibomian gland probing and expression in the office. We use a wire probe to unblock each gland orifice, removing the obstruction from the scarred tissues. We then manually massage the clogged material from each pore. This method restores healthy meibomian gland secretions, providing immediate relief from lid tenderness.