Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is blockage of the meibomian glands so they don’t secrete enough oil into the tears. Because the tear film on the surface of the eye then evaporates too quickly, MGD is associated with Dry Eye Syndrome. It also is connected with an eyelid problem called blepharitis.
MGD risk factors
- There are several factors that can increase your risk of getting meibomian gland dysfunction. Like the risk of dry eyes, the risk of MGD increases with age. People over age 40 have a significantly greater risk of developing it than children or young adults.
- A study of 233 adults (average age 63) found that nearly 60% had at least one sign of MGD.
- Wearing eye makeup is another contributing cause of MGD. Eyeliner and other makeup can clog the openings of meibomian glands. This is especially true if you don’t thoroughly clean your eyelids and remove all traces of eye makeup before sleep.
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) often is the underlying cause of dry eyes.
Treatments for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
In the past, the only treatment available for MGD was applying warm compresses to the eyelids, followed by massaging the eyelids. The goal of this treatment is to melt and express any thickened oil clogging the openings of meibomian glands. Unfortunately, this treatment rarely cleans the glands adequately.
We offer an in office treatment that deep cleans the meibomian glands to improve tear production and provide a healthier ocular surface. When you arrive for the treatment we ask for your eyelids to be clean from make up.
Dry Eye Syndrome
A healthy tear film is necessary in order to keep the surface of your eyes smooth, moist, and clear. Dry eye syndrome occurs when your tear glands either do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the right quality of tear film, resulting in tear evaporation and uncomfortable symptoms – including scratchy, sore, and irritated eyes. (Also visit our page related to Ocular Surface Disease)
Dry eye syndrome does not necessarily mean your eyes feel “dry.” In fact, many people with dry eye syndrome have chronically watery eyes. Dry Eye Syndrome is essentially a catch-all phrase that means something is wrong with your tear film.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Your tear film consists of three main layers: an oily outer layer that reduces tear evaporation, a water middle layer that cleans the eye, and a sticky inner mucous layer that helps the tear film adhere to the surface of your eye. Each of these layers has a different source; if one of them is disrupted, it can cause problems with the rest.
For example, if the oily outer layer of your tear film is underproduced, your tears can evaporate too quickly, causing your eyes to feel dry, gritty, and achy. Sometimes, your body responds to this problem by overstimulating tear production, resulting in excessively watery eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
Some of the most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome are:
- Scratchy, gritty eyes
- Aching or soreness in the eyes
- A burning sensation in the eyes
- Feeling like something is in your eye (foreign body sensation)
- Light sensitivity
- Eye fatigue
- Contact lens discomfort
- Heightened irritation from smoke, allergens, etc
- Blurry vision, especially in the morning and/or late in the day
Dry eye syndrome can be caused by a wide range of factors, including age, dry climate, pollution, allergies, certain medications, and auto-immune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögrens Syndrome).
Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common problems we treat at Brooks Eye Associates. Artificial tears (eye drops) and other lubricants are often the first courses of action to provide relief. If your dry eyes are more severe, Dr. Brooks may discuss using tear duct plugs (also called “punctal plugs”) to help reduce drainage and prevent your tears from evaporating too quickly.
Punctal plugs are safe and painless, and come in two basic types:
- Dissolvable – Made of materials like collagen that your body can absorb.
- Semi-permanent – Made of more long-lasting material, like silicone.
After carefully examining your eyes to determine the cause and type of your dry eye syndrome, Dr. Brooks will recommend the best treatment for your needs.
If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome, please contact Brooks Eye Associates today or call (972) 736-9347 to schedule an appointment. We serve patients in North Texas, including Plano, Frisco, and Dallas.