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Corner of University and 128th St, across from The Iowa Clinic

Located at Corner of University and 128th St, across from The Iowa Clinic

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: Everything You Need To Know

Do your eyes itch, burn, sting, or look red? Does it feel like something is stuck in your eye? If you’ve tried over-the-counter solutions without any relief, you may have a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or MGD. This condition is the leading cause of Dry Eye Syndrome.

Dr. Jennifer DenHartog sees patients from all over the West Des Moines area who have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. If you have MGD contact Dry Eye Center at Premier Vision Clinic, we can help. Let us provide you with the long-term relief you need.

man with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Tears are more than just fluid in the eye. They have a chemical makeup comprised of water, enzymes, proteins, and oils. Your meibomian glands, located by your eyelashes in the upper and lower eyelids, naturally secrete these oils, which act as a protective shell to keep the tear film on your eye. It lubricates and coats your eyes, keeping them moist and comfortable. Sometimes, the meibomian glands can become clogged, and when that happens, the oil can’t moisturize your eyes. This is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

In addition to the meibomian glands, excessive screen time has been linked to the development of MGD. That’s because when you stare at a screen on your TV, smartphone, computer or tablet, you blink less. Blinking naturally moisturizes your eyes, and it can also clear any small particles that may accidentally get into your eye. A reduced amount of blinking can make your eyes feel more dry or itchy, increasing the discomfort.

woman looking at the sun

What Do The Meibomian Glands Do?

Your meibomian glands control an oily substance called meibum. It combines with other substances in the eye area to create a thin film that consistently lubricates your eyes. Meibum is an essential part of your eye’s makeup because it prevents the evaporation of the eye’s tear film.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction stops meibum from naturally being released, which makes the tear film evaporate faster. When this happens, your eyes can feel dry and uncomfortable.

sad girl, holding a book

What Are The Symptoms Of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction causes some uncomfortable reactions. Depending on your specific case, your symptoms may be mild or severe, quick or long-lasting.

The most common symptoms of MGD include:

Blurry vision, Burning, Dryness, Feeling as if there’s something in your eye, Gritty feeling, Itchy eyes, Redness, Sensitivity to light, Stinging and Soreness

During the summer or winter months, your symptoms may intensify. This happens when air conditioning or heating systems are often in use. Being in the direct path of cold or hot air can increase the dryness, pain, or itchiness. Climates with humidity and high winds can cause the same results.

If left untreated, your meibomian glands can stop functioning completely, causing even more symptoms and long-term discomfort. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

man with glasses

Treatment For Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction typically involves a few methods. Dr. Jennifer DenHartog usually suggests applying warm compresses over your eyelids as a first course of action. These can gently open the clogged glands and loosen the oil that may have accumulated. Warm compresses can give you temporary relief, but this does not alleviate the discomfort for long. Too much use can cause excessive pressure on the eye areas, as well.

Anti-inflammatory medicated eye drops and proper lid hygiene may relieve some of the symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, such as redness and swelling. Talk to Dr. Jennifer DenHartog the treatment options that will work best for you.

Medical Technologies For Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Each patient’s case of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is unique. Some may need mild treatment while others require more intense care. Our eye doctor can determine the right choice for your condition to get you the best possible results.

We have some of the latest treatment options for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction including Intense Pulsed Light, LipiFlow®, LipiScan®, TearLab, and the Bruder Mask. Some of these devices use heat to gently release the blockage of the meibomian glands, while others analyze the makeup of your tears to determine how severe the clogged glands are:

Intense Pulsed Light

heats the skin around the eye area and dislodges the oil buildup. This treatment directly targets the source – the blood vessels which surround the glands. Once this happens, the glands can once again secrete the oils naturally, resuming their moisturizing effects.

The Bruder Mask

is a heated compress that sits over your eyes, almost like a large, soft beauty mask. Inside each side of the mask are tiny beads that are warmed and release gentle heat. This heat opens the oil glands and helps restore the oil secretion back into the eyes.

MiBo Thermaflow

The MiBo treatment is a relaxing therapy that supplies continuous controlled heat applied to the outer skin of the eyelid. Using gentle massage, heat is absorbed deep into the tissue and breaks down the hardened oils.

iLux Device – Tearfilm Innovations

The proprietary light-based heat source gently warms the inner and outer lid to a safe therapeutic temperature. Sensors in the disposable iLux Smart Tip monitor inner eyelid temperature continuously during treatment. The doctor gently compresses the eyelid as much as needed to clear the blocked orifices. Your doctor can view the blocked meibomian gland orifices through the magnifying lens. iLux allows direct visualization of meibomian gland orifices and expressed meibum throughout treatment via the magnifying lens.

Lid Scrubs

Reducing the bacteria from our lids may help control inflammation. Lid scrubs are useful in cleaning debris and crusting from the base of the lashes. Our favorites: Ocusoft Platinum Lid Scrub, HypoChlor Lid Spray, and Ocusoft Original Lid Scrub.

Meibography with the Oculus Keratograph 5M

The OCULUS Keratograph 5M is an advanced diagnostic device that is used for evaluating Dry Eye Syndrome and measuring the quality and quantity of the tear film.

Depending on your case of MGD, the doctor may suggest a combination of treatments to encourage a successful outcome. Intense Pulsed Light combined with manual expression has been shown to significantly improve dry eye symptoms, including Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

brown-eyed woman with nose ring

How We Can Help

During your appointment, you’ll discuss the various treatment options with the doctor. Based on the degree of your condition, symptoms, and lifestyle, Dr. Jennifer DenHartog will recommend the best course of treatment for you.

In addition to medical procedures to relieve MGD and dry eye pain, the doctor may prescribe topical corticosteroids. These can help reduce inflammation. If you notice any swelling, talk to your doctor about topical medications.

The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner we can give you the relief you’ve been looking for.

Serving Patients From:

West Des Moines and the state of Iowa

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