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Over 25 years of scientific research has determined that Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) may be one of the most common eye problems you’ve never heard of and is one of the primary causes of dry eye. Its odd-sounding name is probably part of the problem! There are about 25 to 40 meibomian glands in the upper eyelid and 20 to 30 in the lower eyelid. The function of these glands is to secrete oils onto the surface of the eye. These oils help keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. Meibomian gland dysfunction is blockage or some other abnormality of the meibomian glands so they don’t secrete enough oil into the tears.

86% of patients with dry eye have MGD and it’s TREATABLE!

The LipiFlow thermal pulsation system (developed by TearScience) is an in-office procedure that applies sufficient heat to the eyelids to melt waxy deposits in the meibomian glands. It is the only FDA cleared treatment at this time.  It applies pulsed pressure to the eyelid to open and thoroughly express the contents of the glands. The entire treatment lasts about 12 minutes. Recent studies have demonstrated that the process significantly reduces the signs and symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction. Learn more about the LipiFlow system & MGD.


Symptoms and Causes

The symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction are nearly the same as Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Red Eyes
  • Itching
  • Gritty Feeling
  • Blurred Vision

Recent Studies have shown that anyone at any age is at risk for MGD due to the increase of the use of digital devices. Use of these devices lead to less blinking, called “evaporative stress” which stimulates more oil production from the glands. This thickens the oil and blocks the gland openings causing oil production to shut down. When MGD is present and left untreated over time, gland function is compromised and can eventually cause permanent gland loss.

Normal Gland Structure

Significant Gland Loss

Gland Shortening & Loss

Severe Gland Loss

Some researches also believe that wearing contact lenses may also increase the risk of MGD as well as wearing eye makeup. Eyeliner and other makeup can clog the openings of meibomian glands. This is especially true if you don’t thoroughly clean your eyelids before sleeping.


There are also various factors that may possibly contribute to or promote the progression of MGD. These include systemic conditions such as rosacea, androgen deficiency, menopause and Sjögrens syndrome; and medications such as antihistamines, retinoids, certain types of glaucoma medications, antidepressants, nizagara and postmenopausal hormone therapy.


  1. Schedule a Dry Eye Evaluation with us today so we can determine the cause of your dry eyes and develop a specific treatment option.
  2. During this Dry Eye Evaluation we will perform tests to look at your:
    • Blink pattern
    • Lipid Layer thickness
    • Presence of the meibomian oil glands in your eyelids
    • Photographs of the oil gland structure and look for atrophy
    • Eyelid closure and eyelid seal
    • Tear Breakup time and stability (TBUT)
    • Tear osmolarity (Tear Film Dynamic)
    • Screening for ocular allergies, viruses, bacteria and mite infestation
    • Staining of the eye to test possible inflammation
  3. Our doctor will then discuss treatment options after determining cause which may include:
    • LipiFlow thermal pulsation procedure
    • Anti-Inflammatory steroid eye drops
    • Restasis or Xiidra
    • Lubrication eye drops
  4. We will then create a recovery plan to ensure that it does not progress further:
    • Specific Omega-3 supplements
    • Blink instructions
    • Eyelid cleansing procedures
    • Lubrication eye drops
    • On-going professional care and monitoring
    • Re-fit into contact lenses that are better for dry eyes