What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
It is estimated that as many as 86% of people that experience dry eye symptoms have an underlying condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. At our dry eye centers in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, we are excited to offer the most advanced treatment option for people suffering from dry, crusty, painful, watery, and tired eyes, as a result of MGD. Lipiflow is a revolutionary FDA approved technology from Johnson & Johnson, that represents 10 years of research and over 30 patents, that truly treats the cause of your discomfort and not just the symptoms.
What is MGD?
Even though you have likely never heard of it, MGD is actually a very common eye problem. Another common name for this dysfunction is meibomianitis. When a person suffers from MGD, it means that a particular gland in the eye is not receiving the oils it needs to produce tears.
The purpose of the glands is to secrete oils so as to make sure tears don't evaporate too quickly, which helps ensure that the eyes don't get dry. When enough oil is not produced, the eyes will become very dry and itchy. Often, MGD leads to blepharitis, a common eyelid problem.
Understanding Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction is a little-known, but very common, a condition that affects the glands that produce the oily layer of tears. Healthy tears are composed of three components: the wet layer, the oily or lipid layer, and a surfactant layer. When the oily layer is insufficient, the tears evaporate too quickly. This results in dry eye disease.
“All too often, patients are simply told to use eye drops to add moisture to their dry eyes. While this does get the eyes wet, it does nothing to stop them from quickly drying out again. To truly address the problem of dry eyes, one must get to the root of the problem. The root is often dysfunction of the Meibomian glands,” explained Dr. Michael Hansen, OD of Advanced Eyecare Center.
Advanced Eyecare Center’s treatment for Meibomian gland dysfunction involves the use of the LipiFlow system. This is a machine that applies gentle heat and massage to the eyelids to clear blockages in the glands’ ducts and stimulate the glands to produce more oily fluid. It is an FDA-approved system that employs one-use components to ensure sterility between patients.
“The LipiFlow system is backed by 25 years’ worth of studies, so patients can be assured of its safety and effectiveness. Each session takes only about 12 minutes to complete, so it is also quick and convenient. Dry eye is alleviated right away, and continued sessions keep the Meibomian glands and their ducts working. This solution addresses the root cause of dry eye syndrome, so we believe it is a far better approach than simply using endless eye drops,” said Dr. Nicole Kohan, OD, another optometrist at Advanced Eyecare Center.
What are the risk factors for MGD?
Some people are at a higher risk for developing MGD. For example, if you are over the age of 40, then you are much more likely to develop MGD than young adults and children. Also, your ethnicity plays a role in your likelihood of developing MGD.
If you are of Asian descent, you are more likely to have this dysfunction. Another risk factor that can increase your likelihood of developing MGD is if you wear eye makeup. Because makeup can clog these glands that secrete oils, it is imperative that you completely remove eye makeup every night before you go to bed.