Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD): Here’s What You Need To Know

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) Here’s What You Need To Know

Meibomian gland dysfunction, also known as MGD, is a form of dry eye disease where the oily part of your tears is deficient and dysfunctional.

In the video below, Dr. Amanda Rights discusses what you need to know about meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). 

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

What are meibomian glands?

Meibomian glands are the oil-producing glands located in both your upper and lower eyelids.

These glands normally slowly release meibum (oil) into your tear film, forming the oily lipid layer of your tear film. This oil helps to stop the water in your tears from evaporating, thus helping to prevent dry eyes.

Here are the 3 layers of the tear film.

Healthy meibum is a transparent, free-flowing, yellow oil that, when expressed, resembles a light cooking oil.

In a healthy eye, gentle pressure with a finger or cotton swab for as little as 15 seconds in the central portion of your lower lid should produce a small amount of meibum from one or more of your glands.

RELATED: Blepharitis: What Is It and How Does It Impact Your Eyes?

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) looks like this

What is meibomian gland dysfunction?

If a thickened or opaque oily substance is released from the glands, or if no oil is produced at all, your eye doctor will diagnosis you with meibomian gland dysfunction.

Clinical signs include yellow-white caps on your glands, a foamy tear film, and rapid evaporation of your tears.

Symptoms include redness on your eyelid margin, flaky debris or mattering, fluctuating vision, burning, and stinging.

Related: Here’s Why Your Eyes Water All The Time

Can meibomian gland dysfunction be cured?

Unfortunately, at this time, there is not a permanent cure for MGD. With this in mind, there are a lot of outstanding management and treatment options available.

Some are more effective than others and all of them can be utilized over time to manage this condition.

How to manage meibomian gland dysfunction

There are various methods to help manage and treat meibomian gland dysfunction:

Warm compresses are a great treatment option for MGD

1) Use a warm compress

Unblock your glands by applying warm compresses to your eyelids for 10-15 minutes at least twice per day. Follow this up with a gentle massage of your glands with your fingertips or a cotton swab.

2) Try oral antibiotics

Reduce the accumulation of bacterial within your meibomian glands through the use of prescription oral antibiotics. This is something you’ll want to talk to your eye doctor about.

Fish oil supplements are a wonderful treatment option for MGD

3) Take dry eye supplements

Increase your production of lipids (fats) with omega-3 fatty acids containing nutritional supplements, such as fish oil or flaxseed oil.

4) Consider new in-office procedures

Talk to your eye doctor about in-office procedures that effectively remove blockages from your meibomian glands by gently heating and massaging your eyelids.

Related: The Truth About Artificial Tears and Dry Eye Disease

If you’re experiencing eyelid redness and flaking, burning, and stinging, you may have meibomian gland dysfunction! For a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, talk to your local eye care professional today.