Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or MGD, affects millions of people annually. It is the leading cause of Dry Eye Disease (DED), with an estimated 85% of all Dry Eye cases involving MGD. The condition is particularly prevalent among women over the age of 50. This is primarily attributed to the hormonal changes associated with menopause.
How Do Meibomian Glands Protect Your Eyes?
Meibomian glands are miniscule oil glands found in the borders of all 4 eyelids. The oil produced by these glands serves to coat the tear film water on the eye surface. This prevents the tears from undergoing rapid evaporation. The eye surface generally remains healthy because of the tear film that lubricates it. This film is composed of water, mucus and oil.
What Causes Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
If any of the tear film components suffers a change in quality or quantity, your tears cannot protect your eye properly. When your eyelid’s oil glands don’t produce enough oil, you get Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. In many cases, the openings of the glands become plugged, resulting in less oil secretion. Any oil that actually gets produced may also be thickened and granular and thus irritate the eyes. When you leave it untreated, the Meibomian glands become fully clogged and unable to secrete oil, causing severe Dry Eye Disease.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is common, but you may not recognize the symptoms and therefore not seek treatment. The following symptoms can be indications of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction:
- Dry eyes
- Red eyes
- Watering of the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Burning or irritation of the eye surface and lids
- Itchy eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Foreign body sensation (the feeling that something is in the eye)
- The presence of styes (also called chalazia)
- Crustiness or stickiness in the eye area
How Do You Treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
Once this eye health condition starts, it becomes a chronic issue. Therefore, you need to treat MGD daily to manage it. Fortunately, there are effective home treatments for Dry Eye Disease and MGD. Your doctor can guide you in learning how to treat MGD at home.
These are the most common treatments for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Your daily routine could include many of these options:
- Applying a warm compress – Home treatment with warm compresses is vital for those who suffer from MGD and DED. By applying warmth to the eyelids, you loosen the oil and get it flowing properly. Apply a warm compress to the lids for ten minutes or longer. Do this once daily to keep the eyelids healthy and prevent recurring symptoms. When you are experiencing symptoms, you should apply a warm compress twice per day.
- Taking a Supplement – The Meibomian glands may secrete healthier oil more consistently with omega-3 fatty acids in the system. Make sure to take high-quality, high-potency supplements.
- Gentle Scrubbing – Scrubbing the eyelids once daily aids in minimizing the debris, oil, and bacteria that can block oil glands. You can scrub the lid margins at the lash line with a warm washcloth, or a cotton swab, but remember to do this very gently. You can also use a mild cleansing soap or a dilution of a few drops of baby shampoo in water.
- Massaging the Eyelids – Massaging the lids also helps to keep them healthy. Consult with your eye care professional regarding safe techniques to massage the eyelids.
Get Relief From Meibomian Gland Dysfunction!
MGD and DED can cause a lot of discomfort and distress. Fortunately, home treatments for the symptoms are easy and affordable. You should apply carefully calibrated heat to the sensitive skin of the eyelids to treat MGD. EyeGiene® warm eye compresses are ideal for combating MGD, since the thermal energy needed has been engineered into the product. The EyeGiene Insta-Warmth™ eye mask with Warming Wafers applies the right amount of heat for at least 10 minutes, automatically. No need to use a microwave or hot water. And you can use the system anywhere, whenever you can take a relaxing 10-15-minute break!