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Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: The Hidden Cause of Your Dry Eyes

by Jamie Peters

Dry and itchy eyes are uncomfortable at best and at worse, they can even cause you to be unable to complete everyday tasks. Most people assume the culprit is allergies or even a lack of sleep, but there could be another reason behind your dry eyes.

What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian gland dysfunction is considered one of the most common eye health issues, but most people have never heard of it. The Meibomian glands are part of the upper and lower eyelids. Your top lid has between 25 and 40 of these glands and your bottom lid has up to 30 of them. If they don’t secrete enough oil to your eyes, your tears evaporate too quickly and lead to dryness.

Detection of MGD

Because MGD mimics dry eye syndrome when it comes to symptoms, the only way to tell which one you suffer from is to visit your trusted eye doctor. Most eye doctors used a technique that involves applying pressure to your eyelids to determine how well the Meibomian glands are secreting. Your doctor may also decide to test the quality and quantity of your tears using a tear breakup time test. The procedure, which is painless, requires applying dye to the tears to see how quickly it breaks up.

Risk Factors and Treatment

Several factors can make you more susceptible to suffering from MGD, such as:

  • Being over 40 years of age
  • Being of Asian descent
  • Wearing eye makeup often
  • Wearing contact lenses

If your eye doctor determines you have MGD, they will prescribe a routine of warm compresses, usually along with antibacterial eye drops.

If you suspect you may be suffering from dry and itchy eyes related to MGD, make an appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors in La Mesa, CA.


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