Meibomian Gland Dysfunction & Dry eye
Why does Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) Cause Dry Eyes?
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) affects 86% of dry eye sufferers. People with meibomian gland dysfunction don't produce enough of the lipid or oil component of health tear file and this causes their eyes to dry out. Healthy tear film is composed of three layers: the mucin layer, the aqueous layer and the lipid layer. The lipid layer is the outermost tear film layer; it's job is to lubricate the eye and prevent evaporation of tears. When not enough lipid is produced by the meibomian glands, excessive evaporation occurs, causing dry eye disease.
What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?
MGD is a chronic, diffuse abnormality of the meibomian glands commonly characterized by terminal duct obstruction and/or changes in the quantify or quality of the lipid secreted by the gland. MGD is diagnosed by observing the structure of the meibomian glands using LipiScan and examining their secretions. The image below shows LipiScan images of progressively worsening MGD, leading to gland atrophy and drop-out:
What is the impact of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction on Eye Health?
MGD affects the health of the surface of the eye. MGD can result in alteration of the tear film and may lead to symptoms of eye irritation, inflammation around the eyelids and ocular surface disease.
What causes Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?
Age and ethnicity play a part in MGD. As we age, our meibomian glands don't funciton as well over time. Asian people are much more likely to get MGD than Europians. Contact lenses wearers are more likey to get MGD. In addition, some medical conditions are associated with MGD like Sjogren's Syndrome, high cholesterol, other eye diseases, bacterial infections and autoimmune diseases like lupus and arthritis. Some mediations can also impair meibomian gland function.
How can Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) be treated?
Thermal Pulsation such as LipiFlow is a safe and effective treatment for MGD and we offer it to patients at our Vancouver optometry clinic. Other treatments, which may help less severe cases, include hot compresses, debridement and scaling, and gland massage and expression.