Eye Care for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Although it’s pretty common, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a condition people often don’t realize they have, or they confuse it for seasonal allergies. This condition is related to the formation of tears that needs to be treated to avoid cornea disease down the road. The Stone Canyon Eye Care optometrists in St. George, UT, can diagnose and treat MGD successfully before it causes significant damage.
The Importance of Tears
To understand MGD, we need to understand the composition of our tears. Tears are three layers that work together to do an important job — keep our eyes moist. The inside layer is made of mucus which helps the tear adhere to the eye. The middle layer is the thickest and is made of water which protects the cornea. The outer layer is made of oil, making the tear surface smooth. This oil comes from tiny meibomian glands in the eyelid, named after the German doctor who studied them. These three layers form what an optometrist calls the “tear film.”
What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
MGD occurs when these glands are obstructed or prevented from producing enough oil for the tear film. This results in dry, irritated, red, or itchy eyes. Sometimes the inner rim of the eyelid can appear uneven, and some people experience blurry vision or sensitivity to light. MGD is a type of “dry eye syndrome” that can lead to eyelid inflammation. In later stages, it can turn into cornea disease.
What Causes MGD?
Several medical issues can contribute to MGD. A damaged cornea or eyelid, a bacterial infection, conjunctivitis, an autoimmune disease, or high cholesterol may be the cause. Also, some acne medications and hormone treatments have been linked. Those who wear contacts are more likely to get MGD, as well as those of Asian ancestry.
What Can I Do?
At-home eye care may be all that’s needed in the early stages. Placing a warm, wet cloth over the eyelids for five minutes a couple of times a day may help loosen the blocked oil. Cleaning the eyelids with a non-soap cleanser once a day can also help; some find that humidifiers help ease the drying. Switching from contacts to glasses or using a “water gradient” type of contacts may also alleviate symptoms.
Get the Eye Care You Need
A skilled eye doctor at Stone Canyon Eye Care in St. George, UT, can accurately diagnose and treat MGD to prevent cornea damage. Call (435) 359-2020 today to make your appointment!