Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a common disease of the eye lids that is often missed in routine eye examinations. The problem may arise from inflammatory processes, infection, allergy, or mechanical blockage.

Drawing of blocked meibomian glands

Image: Lipiflow

MGD is the leading cause of evaporative (low tear volume) dry eye.

The goal of all MGD treatments is to improve the flow of meibomian gland and their oily-like secretions, with a result leading to a more normal tear film.

The traditional treatments of MGD consist of warm compresses on the eyelids, coupled with gentle massage of the lids and the glands inside them. Although hot compresses and massage may help the signs and symptoms of MGD, it definitely does not cure the problem.

Sometimes antibiotic drops and steroids are used to “quiet down” the low grade infections when they are present. These also help the inflammation of the eye lids as well.

Oral antibiotics, particularly the tetracyclines (including doxycycline, tetracycline, and minocycline) are also often used to control the bacterial (usually staph) and control inflammation of the lid.