What is meibomian gland dysfunction and what is the treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction?


Meibomian gland dysfunction is now known as one of the major causes of dry eye disease. There are glands that produce oil and add to the water on the surface of the eye to lubricate it. If that oil is not there, then the water evaporates quickly. That’s why they call it evaporative dry eye disease.

Treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction can be divided into various modalities:

One is to try to allow a healthy oil to run smoothly through the glands. That is achieved by heated eye mask, followed by eyelid massages and wiping the lid margin.

There are two other modalities that address inflammation, which is an underlying disease of these glands. They are receiving anti-inflammatory treatment and taking supplements of omega-three. The omega-threes, especially the flaxseed oil, are very effective in slowing down the inflammation. Additionally, they block amino acids that your body requires to produce new meibum or the oil from the eye glands.

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If this simple modality is not effective, topical or systemic antibiotics or other anti-inflammatories are an option. Sometimes, if the disease is very active and the inflammation is ongoing, then you can use inflammatory products. These can be applied straight on the eye. This type of treatment is ongoing, but there also might be a period where the eye feels better. On longterm treatment, it’s often required.

Finally, if the simple modalities do not address the function of the glands, then thermal treatment or intense pulse light is often effective. This is one of the new treatments that is advocated now to help this gland to function well by stimulating these glands. It is an additional treatment and is helpful from both the patient and the examiner’s point of view.

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About the expert

Mr Samer Hamada | Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Surgeon

MD, MSc, DO (hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth I am Samer Hamada, founder and consultant ophthalmic surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in ophthalmology. I am a world-renowned specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. I’m not only a leading surgeon but also the only dual fellowship trained in corneal diseases in children from reputable institutions in the UK. At Eye Clinic London I work closely with other consultant ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Our main aim is to make sure our patients get the safest and best treatments available to them. We put your safety before anything else so you can rest assured that if you choose us you will be in the best and safest hands.

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