How Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Contributes to Dry Eye

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Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2024 by Dr. Robert Mack
Dry Eye in Hoffman Estates

If you suffer from dry eye, you likely understand the toll the condition takes on your quality of life. Dry eye can leave you with irritated, itchy, red eyes that do not seem to get better, despite your best efforts at seeking relief. Fortunately, the skilled doctors at Mack Eye Center are extensively experienced in treating this condition, which is often the cause of meibomian gland dysfunction.

About The Meibomian Glands

To understand the role of the meibomian glands, it is important to know about the makeup of the tear film. This film is composed of three distinct layers:

Water layer: Keeps the eyes moist

Oil layer: Prevents the water layer from evaporating too rapidly

Mucus layer: Distributes the tears across the surface of the eye

The meibomian glands, which are located along the eyelash line, are responsible for the makeup of the oil layer, as these glands secrete a substance known as meibum.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Tears are required to keep your eyes feeling moisturized and comfortable. When there is an issue with one of the layers of the tear film, dry eye can soon follow. This is what occurs in meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which describes a common condition whereby the meibomian glands fail to produce an adequate amount of oil. MGD can also occur when the oil produced is not high quality. The meibomian glands can easily become blocked, which prevents them from secreting a consistent flow of oil. In its early stages, MGD may not be accompanied by many symptoms; however, if the condition is left untreated, it can lead to dry eye symptoms and eyelid inflammation.

Risk Factors

MGD often affects those who frequently wear eye makeup. Cosmetic products such as eyeliners and mascaras, when applied close to the lash line, can block the proper flow of oil. In addition, the risk of developing the condition increases as you age, with MGD often affecting individuals who are 40 and over.

Treatment Options

Dry eye treatment is available to you at Mack Eye Center. Here, our experts will evaluate the severity of your case and make appropriate recommendations. For mild dry eye symptoms, artificial tears and ointments can provide relief. However, for those who experience MGD, IPL may be a treatment option. Short for intense pulsed light, IPL therapy is a non-surgical procedure that directs pulses of light to the blocked glands, essentially melting away the blockage. This treatment provides satisfying and lasting relief from dry eye.

Contact Us Today

Do not allow dry eye to affect your quality of life any longer. Contact us now to start your journey towards dry eye relief.

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