You probably haven’t heard of meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD before. It sounds odd but mind you, it’s one of the most common eye problems that occur in people.
A common name for it is meibomianitis.
Meibomian refers to a kind of gland found in the eyelids, which are named after a German doctor, Heinrich Meibom, who made illustrations of it in 1666.
There are approximately 25 to 40 meibomian glands found in the upper eyelid and around 20 to 30 are located in the lower eyelid. These tarsal glands are responsible for secreting oils onto the eye’s surface. They are responsible for keeping the tears from evaporating fast.
Once meibomian glands are blocked, MGD occurs and it can cause dry eye syndrome or blepharitis, which refers to an eyelid problem. Internationally, this eye problem goes by the code, meibomian gland dysfunction icd 10.
Symptoms of MGD
Perhaps you are wondering, can meibomian gland dysfunction be detected? The truth is it shows the same symptoms as dry eye syndrome, which is why it can be very tricky to detect.
Red eyes, itchy, and gritty feelings in the eyes as well as blurred vision are some of the common symptoms. However, only an eye doctor can tell whether you have MGD or not.
In order to do this, the specialist will use a technique that involves applying pressure on your eyelids to trigger the meibomian gland. They will carefully observe the secretions and by doing so, they can help determine whether you have meibomian gland dysfunction.
Treatments for MGD
As one of the most common eye problems out there, doctors have found many effective ways to treat MGD. These are as follows:
- Home Remedies. Very simply, develop a routine of a warm compress, eyelid massage, followed by a hypochlorous acid eyelid cleanser. Do this at least nightly, but two times per day is even better.
- Meibomian gland probing. In this simple technique, the specialist will unclog the opening as well as the main duct of the meibomian glands. He/she will then apply anesthetic eye drops to the eye and use an instrument in probing and dilating the openings of the meibomian glands situated near the base of the eyelashes.
- The use of antibacterial eye drops. Studies show that antibacterial eye drops have proven to be very effective. Once you visit an eye doctor, he/she will examine your eyes and determine whether this is an appropriate treatment for your case. A good example would be cyclosporine eye drops. Cyclosporine is known for modifying the immune response in a particular way. It is commonly found in a prescription eye drop used in managing dry eye symptoms.
- LipiFlow. This is a form of a thermal pulsation system. This in-office procedure involves melting waxy deposits in the meibomian glands by applying enough heat in the eyelids. While doing so, it will likewise apply pulsed pressure to the eyelids and open the glands’ contents.
- The LipiFlow is a device attached to the eyelids for around 12 minutes per session. But will it affect the eyeballs? Actually, it’s designed in such a way that no pressure or heat from the eyelids is transferred to the eyeballs. According to recent findings, this procedure reduced the signs and symptoms of MGD.
- Food supplements. Taking food supplements can also help treat MGD. Some eye doctors highly recommend taking supplements with omega-3 fatty acids aside from undergoing treatments mentioned above. Incorporating food that contains high omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can prevent the risk of having meibomian gland dysfunction in the future. According to studies, the fatty acids can greatly help in suppressing the inflammation brought about by MGD and at the same time prevent waxy build-ups in the meibomian glands.
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Are You at Risk?
There are numerous factors that can increase your risk of having meibomian gland dysfunction.
Age is one of the major contributing factors. People who are 40 years old and above are more susceptible to having MGD than children.
You are also at risk depending on your ethnic background. There are studies that show 46% to 69% of Asians living in Thailand, Japan and China have MGD. On the other hand, 3.5 to 20 percent of Caucasians residing in the U.S. and Australia have it.
If you love wearing eye makeup, then you’re also at risk of having meibomian gland dysfunction. Eye makeups like eyeliner can block the tarsal glands’ openings especially if you fail to remove eye makeup or traces of it before you hit the pillows.
Meanwhile, there are researchers who claimed that wearing contact lenses can alter meibomian glands and thus increase one’s chances of being at risk of MGD.
If you want to learn more about meibomian gland dysfunction, its symptoms, and treatments, drop by our clinic or give us a call. Rest assured we are here to help you every step of the way.