What are meibomian glands?
- They are oil producing glands found in the upper and lower eyelids.
- Healthy meibomian glands are absolutely vital to a healthy tear film-when these misbehave, they are responsible for the majority of dry eye symptoms.
- If you have chronic or uncontrolled dry eye symptoms and have never been told about meibomian glands, don’t be surprised, but take the time to educate yourself about meibomian glands (MG) and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
What is MGD?
- Your oil glands have gone on strike!
- These glands secrete the lipid(oily) layer of your tear film which is crucial in preventing evaporation of the tears.
- Failure of these glands to produce or secrete oil-due to chronic blockage, thickening of the meibum, will affect the quality and stability of the tear film, which in turn will produce classic dry eye symptoms even in people whose other dry eye test results appear normal.
- Promoting good meibomian gland health is often the number one task of the chronic dry eye patient.
- MGD is quite common and often goes undiagnosed. Even when diagnosed, it often is not treated effectively until it becomes chronic or severe.
Continued compliance with a lid regime is important long term to prevent recurrence of this chronic condition. Below is a simple technique which is effective for mild to moderate MGD:
- Warm Opti-Therm in the microwave as instructed (nominally 20 seconds).
- Strap the Opti-Therm mask over your eyes for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. See this as a treat, instead of a chore and it will change the way you treat MGD. This procedure helps melt the oil in the blocked glands.
- Once completed apply gentle massage through the mask to the lower and upper eyelids. This helps to remove the plugs which may be blocking the opening of the glands at the lid surface.
- Perseverance is essential!