A common complaint I hear is “my eyes burn and water.” Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is a common, chronic condition and is usually the cause of the discomfort. MGD occurs when the opening to the meibomian gland is plugged. The openings to the glands are at the edge of the eyelid margins, near the base of the eyelashes. The blockage can be caused by make-up, lotions, and sunscreens that plug the opening. Other factors are usually involved too. For example, skin conditions such as acne rosacea are a common cause of MGD. Age, sex, hormonal disturbances, allergies and certain medications negatively affect the glands too.
The treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Hot compresses and eyelid hygiene is always recommended. Dietary modifications, inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids and hydration are beneficial. For more advanced cases, topical and/or oral medications may be required to control MGD.
If left untreated, the glands will thicken and scar causing chronic dry eye signs and symptoms and more discomfort.
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