What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or Meibomianitis?

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) or Meibomianitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelid that affects the Meibomian glands. Meibomian glands are responsible for producing the lipid layer in the tear film. The lipid layer helps to keep our tears from evaporating and helps to reduce inflammation in the eye. When the glands become infected or blocked, tear evaporation increases and the eye becomes dry, inflamed, and irritated. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction can also cause changes in the eyes that can affect vision.

Symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

The symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction can vary from person to person and may include:

  • Redness of the eyes and eyelids
  • Stinging, burning, or itching eyes
  • Feeling of grittiness or a foreign body sensation in the eye
  • Excessive tearing
  • Crusting of the eyelashes or lids
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye fatigue

Causes of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

The causes of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction are not fully understood, but may be a result of a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, hormonal influences, and systemic diseases. Other possible causes of MGD include computer use, contact lens wear, trauma, and dietary deficiencies.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist with a slit lamp examination. Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction typically includes warm compresses to soften the glands and artificial tears to lubricate the eyes. In more severe cases, oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If the condition does not respond to these treatments, surgery may be recommended to open and clean the blocked glands.