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Meibomian gland dysfunction, an inflammation of the meibomian glands, is a relatively common condition, and may present in upwards of 80 percent of dry-eye sufferers. It is not a bacterial disease.


It's well-accepted that meibomitis is characterized by abnormal meibum secretions. The meibomian gland are modified sebaceous gland which become obstructed from excess inflammation. Meibomitis’ cause usually involves multiple factors, some of which may be:

  • Hormonal changes

  • Diet

  • Rosacea, especially ocular (eye) Rosacea

  • Gastro-intestinal imbalances, gastric reflux, inflammatory bowls, and other GI problems

  • Chronic Blepharitis and/or Demodex.

  • Androgen deficiency

  • Digital device (cell phone, tablets, computers) use/viewing more than 2 hours per day

  • Sleep Apnea and/or CPAP device


What will I feel if I have this condition?

You may have one or a few of the following symptoms:

  1. Mild itch

  2. Burning sensation

  3. Redness of the eyes and eye lid margins, swelling of the eye lid margins

  4. Foreign body sensation (eg, feeling like there is sand in the eyes)

  5. Sty, once or recurrent


How can it be treated?

This is a long term problem which can be controlled with a combination of the following measures:

  1. Warm compresses and lid massage
    Apply a warm compress to the closed eyes. This increases temperature of the oil in the glands, causing them to work better. Gently clean the eyelid margins if directed by your doctor.

  2. Artificial tears for meibomitis
    As increased tear evaporation leads to dry eyes, specific artificial tears may be needed to reduce discomfort.  Eye ointments at bedtime are sometimes prescribed to lubricate the eye for longer periods.

  3. Antibiotics to the eyelid
    Prescription antibiotic ointment may be applied to the eyelids to reduce eyelid inflammation.

  4. Oral antibiotics and Omega 3 supplements for decreasing meibomitis inflammation
    Commonly used in the treatment of meibomitis, antibiotics such as minocycline  as well as ester-based Omega 3 oral supplements provide effective anti-inflammatory relief.

  5. Anti-inflammatory eye drops and gel drops
    In severe cases, anti-inflammatory eye drops containing steroid may be necessary short term to reduce inflammation. This will prevent excessive damage to the surface of the eye.

  6. Cleaning of the eyelid margins and unclogging of the gland openings.  This is done in clinic.
    Not all of the above treatments may be needed at the same time. Your doctor will assess your eyes and formulate a treatment plan for you, which may change over time.

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