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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:

Best foods for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Best spices for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Top 10 foods for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

8. Antibiotics

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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The best dry eye treatment can only be found once you have established exactly what type of dry eye condition that you suffer from. Many doctors will actually have a hard time helping you with this. This post will tell you more about what you can do by yourself to get a better understanding of your individual condition. 


The best dry eye treatment is, to initially, identify your particular case of dry eye. Only after a proper diagnosis can an effective treatment regime be initiated.

Unfortunately, diagnosing dry eye correctly isn’t easy. This is partly due to the condition itself being complicated, but also the limited knowledge of most local doctors as well as the need for expensive equipment, that only are available in some locations. Finding specialists might be difficult, and once found an appointment may require longer trips.

It is estimated that about 33 million Americans in all groups experience varying degrees of dry eye syndrome. That is around 10% of the population in the US alone. Many people actually have dry eye syndrome without knowing, as it is easily confused with other conditions such as allergies.

The most common symptoms of dry eye are:

  • Dryness
  • An itchy sensation
  • A gritty or sandy sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurry vision or difficulty seeing at night
  • A stinging, burning sensation

For some the symptoms are manageable, but for others it will affect such things as:

  •  Reading
  • Driving at night
  • Watching TV
  • Working on the computer
  • Wearing contact lenses

After you have been diagnosed with dry eye the next step will be to classify your specific type of dry eye. You won’t be able to do this yourself for all conditions, but instead of flooding your eyes with artificial tears there are a few things that you can do until you’ve had your condition properly diagnosed by an ophthalmologist. Depending on your doctors level of knowledge about dry eye you can also use this text as a basis for an initial discussion.

A “dry eye specialist” in my country couldn’t properly identify my case of meibomian gland dysfunction and considered it to be a case of tear deficiency. Thus, finding a doctor is not always a guarantee for a proper diagnosis. Being equipped with some basic knowledge about different dry eye conditions will make the likelihood of a correct treatment more probable.

Simply put, there are three types of dry eye; blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction and tear film problems. You might be suffering from more than one of these and each of the three categories can actually be divided into several sub-categories, as briefly described below. So remember, this is a simplification.

Blepharitis (anterior blepharitis)

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the outside of the eyelids. Usually, this inflammation is present in the part where the eyelashes grow. The condition is often caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharits) or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis).

A few of the signs of blepharitis are:

  • Red eyes
  • Red, sore and itchy eyelids
  • Crusty eyelashes
  • Eyelids that stick together after sleep
  • Misdirected or missing eyelashes
  • Eyelids appear greasy
  • A burning sensation in the eyes
  • A gritty or sandy feeling
  • Flaky skin around the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light (or Photofobia)
  • Watery eyes

Depending on your case of Blepharitis the symptoms can differ:

In Seborrheic blepharitis the base of the eyelashes will have greasy flakes or scales. A mild redness of the eyelids will usually be apparent.

In Staphyloccal blepharitis the eyelids are often sticking together, the lid margins are thickened, and some of the eyelashes can be missing or misdirected.

Ulcerative blepharitis is distinguished by matted, hard crusts around the eyelashes that when removed, leave small sores that ooze and bleed. Other signs may be loss of eyelashes or misdirected eyelashes, as well as significant tearing. In severe cases, the cornea, may also become inflamed.

If you are interested in more information about blepharitis and dry eye then click here.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (posterior blepharitis)

MGD is characterised by blockage of the oil glands in the eyelids as well as redness of the lining of the eyelids. Normally, the glands produce the outer, oily, tear film layer but in cases of MGD the glands, if pressed, will produce a cloudy, granular or toothpaste-like secretion. It’s not always easy to do this by yourself so if you are trying to identify MGD look for red eyelid rims as well as tiny blood vessels over the base of the eyelashes, especially on the upper eyelids.

Further symptoms are, from time to time, small growths along the base of the eyelids that may appear pimple like as well as swelling of the upper eyelids. This is due to the obstruction and inflammation of the eyelid glands. Such conditions are called Chalazion and Stye.

If you are interested in more information about meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye then click here.

Tear Film Problems (aqueous tear deficiency)

Tear film problems or aqueous tear deficiency – means a lack of tears – and it’s not something that you easily can classify by yourself. It requires specific testing that only can be done by an eye doctor. We will come back to exactly what types of tests that needs to be done to get a better understanding of this condition. If you are interested in more information about this condition then click this link: how to treat aqueous tear deficiency.

As always, please write your thoughts, comments and own experiences below.


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This is the second article in my start guide for dry eye sufferers, written to give a better understanding of dry eye syndrome. For the third article in my 7-part series click here: how to start a dry eye treatment. To read the first article in the series click here: the number one dry eye treatment mistake.



In this post I will discuss dry eye blepharitis and MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction), which are common causes of dry eye syndrome. You will get details on the causes of blepharitis and MGD as well as the different types of Blepharitis and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.


Many people are familiar with the experience of having an inflammation on their eyelids, with the rims swelling up and turning red. In medical terminology, this inflammation is called blepharitis.

Blepharitis most common symptoms include burning or stinging sensation in your eye, itchiness in the eyelids and crusty formations on your eyelashes. Foreign body sensation and high sensitivity to light may also be experienced. Blepharitis symptoms feel much worse in the morning.

Types of Blepharitis

The common culprit in blepharitis is a local infection by Staphylococcus bacteria. The infection usually starts at the base of the eyelashes, causing the accumulation of dry, scaly concretions. Your eyelid tissues may be hypersensitive to toxins secreted by the staph bacteria, leading to inflammation of the inner lining. Staphylococcal blepharitis is more common among younger (about 40 years of age) patients with fairly shorter history of eye problems.

The skin problem called seborrhoea, or seborrheic dermatitis, can also cause blepharitis (thus the term seborrheic blepharitis). This is usually less severe than staphylococcal blepharitis. Seborrhoea appears to produce excess lipids, and these subsequently break down into fatty acids that irritate the skin. When the seborrhoea is situated in the eyelids, it can progress into blepharitis.

Another form of blepharitis derives from meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

Meibomian gland dysfunction is a common cause of dry eye syndrome. It is alternatively known as MGD, meibomitis, and posterior blepharitis. The disease is quite complex, but it generally involves inflammation in the meibomian glands of the eyelid, which secrete the lipids (meibome) that make up the outer layer of the tear film. The inflammation may be due to a blockage on the gland opening at the eyelid margin.

The blockage, in turn, may be caused by eyelid swelling from allergies or anterior blepharitis (in the front of the eyelid). MGD may also arise from hormonal changes, or dietary habits that affect the consistency of the lipids. Sometimes, the secretions may appear yellowy and viscous, or even toothpaste-like; at other times, a compact fatty plug may form at the opening, clogging it up. Another variation of MGD may involve heavy secretions of lipids causing irritation to the eyes, although no obstruction of the glands occurs.

The bottom line is that because of the dysfunction, the lipid secretions of the gland become abnormal. There may be too much or too little oil; the oil may be too thick or too thin. The net result is that the tear film loses stability and evaporates at a faster rate from the eye surface.

Symptoms and Associated Conditions

MGD symptoms typically resemble those associated with dry eye in general: burning sensation in the eye, grittiness, foreign body, a mild fear of light because of high sensitivity, and crusting along the lid margins. The lid margins appear thick and inflamed, and the inner rim of the eyelid may be scalloped as a result of scarring.

Meibomian gland dysfunction often occurs together with insufficiency in aqueous tears. When this happens, you are likely to have particularly severe dry eye symptoms. Approximately 60 per cent of Sjögren’s syndrome patients (who suffer aqueous tear insufficiency) have been found to also suffer from MGD. Other skin conditions like rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, which frequently cause blepharitis, are also associated with MGD.

The risk of developing MGD appears to increase with age. It may be that the meibomian glands slowly degenerate in their functioning, or that age-related changes in the eyelids may lead to abnormal blink mechanisms. What has been observed is that normal eyelids in elderly patients exhibit many of the changes in structure and form found in MGD.

MGD is also associated with long-term contact lens use. Contact lenses raise the tear evaporation rate. This can lead to contact lens intolerance and worsen the condition in those whose tear films are already compromised to begin with. Similarly, MGD is also frequently observed in patients with giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) and chalazion (plural, chalazia; a lump that remains after a sty on the eyelid heals).

Click on the following links for more information on how to treat Blepharitis and how to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.


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