At Nappanee Family Eyecare, our goal is to provide the latest and most convenient treatment plans for those who struggle with meibomian gland dysfunction.
Meibomian refers to a particular type of gland in the eyelids. 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. These oils help keep the tears from evaporating too quickly.
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a blockage or some other abnormality of the meibomian glands so they are unable to secrete enough oil into the tears. Since the tears then evaporate too quickly, MGD is a leading cause of dry eye syndrome and is associated with an eyelid problem called blepharitis.
The most common treatment recommended for MGD is applying warm compresses to the eyelids, followed by massaging the eyelids. The goal of this treatment was to melt and express any thickened oil clogging the openings of meibomian glands.
Other treatments include meibomian gland probing, performed by your eye doctor, to unclog the opening and main duct of your meibomian glands as well as lid and lash maintenance. After anesthetic eye drops are applied to the eye, your doctor uses a hand-held instrument to probe and dilate the openings of your meibomian glands near the base of your eyelashes.
Oftentimes, our doctors recommend dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids as an additional treatment to one of the MGD treatments above. A diet rich in omega-3s also may decrease the risk of future episodes of meibomian gland dysfunction. It appears these essential fatty acids may help suppress inflammation associated with MGD and decrease the risk of waxy build-up within the meibomian glands.
Remember, only your eye doctor can tell for sure if you have meibomian gland dysfunction and determine the best MGD treatment options for your particular needs. If you suffer from dry, irritated eyes, make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam and dry eye evaluation today.
To learn more about the differences between a routine vision exam vs a medical exam, click here.