Meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD is the most common chronic disease affecting the eyelids. Under normal conditions, meibomian glands produce a substance that works to stabilize the tear film and prevent its evaporation from the ocular surface. With MGD, these glands have become obstructed and inflamed so that their function is compromised. Consequently, the tear film evaporates very quickly and the surface of the eye becomes dry. Additionally, the bacteria that make up the normal flora of the eyelashes proliferate and this often can lead to the formation of styes and micro abscesses.
The most common symptoms in patients with MGD include itching, burning, a foreign body sensation, sensitivity to light, tired eyes, and contact lens intolerance, among others.
The treatment of MDG starts with a daily routine of eyelid hygiene, following the next three steps:
- Heat: using a warm compress or hot steam
- Massage: with gentle pressure, to expel the oils from the glands
- Scrubbing: with medicated lid scrubs sold at your local pharmacy
More severe cases may require antibiotics, especially when dealing with recurrent styes or chalazion.