The Meibomian gland is a small oil gland located on the rim of each eye. Actually, there are about 20-40 of these glands in the rim of each eye.
These glands secrete oil that mixes with our tears, resulting in an optimal natural eye lubricant. It also prevents the tears from evaporating, allowing our eyes to get all the lubrication they really need.
Unfortunately, at times, people end up with blocked oil glands in their eyes.
Blocked Meibomian glands can result in a large cyst-like lump on the eye lid that can be painful and itchy. Not only that, if left untreated, it can damage the eye.
People with this condition wonder what options they have when it comes to Meibomian gland dysfunction treatment. And many wonder if there’s any way to treat this condition naturally.
What do the experts say?
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Symptoms
People who have blocked Meibomian glands will generally exhibit the following symptoms.
- Burning and Itching
- Excessive tearing
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- Feeling like there’s something in your eye
- Sticky, crusty material around your eyes and on your eyelashes.
If left untreated, Meibomian gland dysfunction can lead to dry eye disease, as well as eyelid inflammation (called Meibomian blepharitis). This condition also raises the risk of eye infection, and in advanced stages can lead to disease of the cornea.
How This Eye Condition Is Treated By Eye Doctors
If you choose to see your eye doctor for your blocked oil glands, they may do what’s called a Meibomian gland probing.
In this situation, the doctor applies a topical anesthetic to the rim of the eyes. The anesthetic is left on for 15 minutes to ensure that it’s sufficiently numbed the tissue.
Then, a probe and magnifying lens are used to test each gland. The doctor will gently prod the glands until they find the one that’s impacted.
Upon probing, the gland will start to release some of the backed up material. If it doesn’t come out on its own, the doctor will use the probe to dislodge it.
In addition to this probing technique, researchers are working hard to find other treatment options for patients.
Is There Such a Thing as a Natural Treatment for Blocked Oil Glands?
While the Meibomian gland probing is the standard treatment for this condition, many people prefer to try natural treatments at home first. Thankfully, there are some treatments and preventative steps you can take that are both natural and non-invasive.
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
One of the main reasons for dry eyes is dehydration.
When you don’t have adequate tear production, the eyes can’t properly clean themselves. In that case, dirt, debris, and even bacteria can build up in the oil glands. Eventually, the oil becomes too thick and it backs up in the gland.
Therefore, to ensure this doesn’t happen, it’s imperative that you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Start with eight glasses of water a day. Tea is a good option, too. Soups and watery fruits and vegetables will help, too.
Make sure to stay away from dehydrating liquids, like sodas with caffeine and alcohol.
2. Eat a Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Diet
Eating a healthy diet is a great MGD treatment. It’s natural, non-invasive, and doesn’t take that much effort.
A diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals and low in processed foods is best.
Pre-packaged foods lose a lot of nutrients during processing. Plus, they’re loaded with chemicals that can cause inflammation.
Try to eat plenty of fruits, leafy greens, and berries as these contain antioxidants that protect the eyes from environmental damage.
Omega-3 fatty acids also keep the eyes healthy and strong, in addition to promoting proper tear production.
3. Hot Compresses
Heating pads for the eyes can help treat this condition. The pads should be worn for ten minutes three times a day.
After the compress is removed, gently massage your eyes in a circular motion.
The heat will soften the materials that are blocking your oil glands. In some cases, the materials can even be partially melted by the compress. This means that whatever is blocking your glands could be excavated slowly but gently.
If Home Treatments Don’t Work – See Your Doctor Right Away
Meibomian gland dysfunction is not only uncomfortable – it can be dangerous to your eyesight.
If you’ve tried meibomian gland dysfunction natural treatments at home and found no success, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible. Doing so could prevent further irritation, as well as damage to your eye and vision.
While it may not seem like a big deal at the time, blocked oil glands in the eyes is not something that should be taken lightly.
Your doctor will do all they can to make you comfortable, even recommending natural, at-home treatments that you haven’t tried yet.
Don’t wait a moment longer. If you suspect you have Meibomian gland dysfunction, contact your doctor right away.