In this post I will tell you more about how to treat meibomian gland dysfunction. I will outline the most basic treatments that are necessary to get successful relief from MGD symptoms. Memboitis is one of the most common types of dry eye, but also one of the types that requires multiple level of treatments, that can be time consuming and frustrating. Starting out with the correct treatments as soon as possible will be important for getting to a high comfort level.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is also know as MGD, Memboitis and posterior blepharitis. There are several types of blepharitis but what they have in common is that they create a chronic inflammation of the eyelids. The condition is in some cases not properly diagnosed and can, for example be associated with dry eye caused by tear deficiency. Misdiagnosing Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is actually very common and some doctors believe that MGD is one of the major causes of dry eye. MGD is for example very common for contact lens users that experience dry eye sensations.
Before we start looking at how to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction let’s just clarify what types of blepharitis there are.
Different Types of Blepharitis
Blepharitis comes in several forms and is in some cases caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis) or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis). There is also ulcerative blepharitis which is a more complicated form of blepharitis. These types of Blepharitis are known as “anterior blepharitis”. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is, as earlier mentioned, known as “posterior blepharitis”. For more information about the different types of anterior blepharitis and how to treat Blepharitis click here.
Definition of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is named after the glands located at the rim of the eyelids. The glands produce the oily substance that prevents the evaporation of the eye’s tear film. This is called the lipid layer. If you would like to know more about what components that make up the tear film then click here.
Each eye has approximately 50 glands on the upper eyelids and 25 glands on the lower eyelids. When these glands get infected they get clogged by a thick waxy secretion which hinders the natural flow of the oil and this causes Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. One common problem in patients suffering from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is that the constipated glands causes inflammation of the oil glands (stye, chalazion and hordeolum). It is not uncommon that people suffering from Memboitis also have other dry eye conditions such as staphylococcal blepharitis or seborrheic blepharitis.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Symptoms
Common symptoms of MGD can be similar to those of dry eye and blepharitis in general, such as itching, burning and redness around the edge of the eyelids, excessive tearing and loss of eyelashes. Other symptoms are foreign body sensation and a feeling of sand or grittiness in the eye.
Specific symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction are redness of the lining of the eyelids and small pimple like swellings of the upper and lower eyelids.
How To Treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
To treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction successfully one needs to use multiple methods of treatment. Perhaps it is one of the conditions that requires the most diligent and consistent treatment schedules. Some of these treatments have a lot in common with traditional blepharitis treatment.
During the acute phase stronger measures may have to be taken to get the inflammation, constipation and irritation under control. Once this has been accomplished the frequency of the treatments can be reduced. In most cases of Memboitis one needs to stick to a daily schedule though.
Below is a list of common treatments for MGD:
1. Get your Meibomian Gland Dysfunction properly diagnosed
As with any case of dry eye the first step in effective dry eye treatment is to identify your specific case of dry eye. In some cases you will be able to get a good understanding of your condition by yourself but it is, however, always recommended that you see a dry eye doctor. For MGD specifically you will want to find out if you suffer from MGD only, or if there are other problems that needs to be treated as well. For more information on identifying different types of dry eye click on this link.
2. Do regular warm eyelid compresses
Since one of the core problems with MGD are constipated glands on the rim of the eyelids you will needs to heat these glands so that the oil can get back to a more natural flow. You do this by applying hot eyelid compresses. This is done several times a day in the acute phase and reduced to a couple of times per day once the situation has stabilized.
Be very careful with the heat as the eyelids burn easily. Click on the link for more information about the best hot compress for dry eye.
3. Do regular eyelid massage
After you have applied the hot compress you will need to perform an eyelid massage. This is done to express any blockage from the glands and also get them to work more naturally. Do you know how to perform an effective eyelid massage? If not, click here for instructions on how to perform the best eyelid massage for meibomian gland dysfunction.
4. Do regular eyelid scrubs
It is very important that you keep a good eyelid hygiene. Eyelid scrubs are most effective if done after the hot compress and eyelid massage.
A general guideline is to use commercially prepared, or home made lid scrubs and cleansing agents two times a day, in the morning and in the evening. During the acute phase you might have to increase the number of lid scrubs applied to several a day.
Make up can aggravate blephartis and MGD, so using less make up or make up specifically developed for blephartis sufferers should be considered.
Apply the cleansing agent, by either massaging it with the tip of your fingers or by using a cotton swab moistened with the cleansing agent.
Different people will have different tolerance levels for the cleansing agent. Some brands are very strong and may cause your eyes to tear excessively, so make sure that you try a few of the brands on the market out before making your choice.
5. Artificial Tears
As with any case of dry eye you will most likely need to use artificial tears. The type of artificial tears that you should use will depend on your specific case of dry eye, but for MGD sufferers it can be beneficial to choose eye drops that replace part of the lipid layer that is affected by the constipated and inflamed glands. For more information on the best eye drops for dry eye click here.
6. Vitamins & Supplements
You may require adding supplements to your treatment. A very common supplement for dry eye patients is Omega-3 fish oil or flaxseed oils, but there are also other options that will target inflammations in the body and provide an immune-boosting effect. Click here for more information on the benefits of Omega-3 for dry eye.
7. Reducing Inflammation
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is an inflammatory disease so suppressing the inflammation is something that you will want to focus on. This can be done by antibiotics but before taking medication you should try changing your diet first. There are foods that will improve the body’s natural ability to fight inflammation and there are also foods that will increase the risks of inflammation. Make sure that you only eat the good stuff. For more information on this subject click on the links below:
Antibiotics should never be used for an extended period of time but can be a valuable tool in acute phases of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Antibiotics can be applied directly to the base of the eyelids (topical antibiotics) or administered orally (oral antibiotics).
9. Treat underlying conditions
You should identify any conditions that may cause or aggravate your Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Common problems that will need to be addressed are skin disorders like rosacea and seborrhea.
If you find that the regular treatments for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction don’t work it will be necessary to move on to severe Meibomian Gland Dysfunction treatments.
Would you like to get straight to the core of the best treatments for MGD? Then read more about one of the most effective treatment guides here: dry eyes shop.
As always, please write your thoughts, comments and own experiences below.
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