Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a common cause of dry eye. Dry Eyes can also cause MGD. Blockage of the meibomian glands can now be treated directly under local anesthesia using fine disposable probes called Intraductal Meibomian Gland Probing.
How To Unclog the meibomian glands
One of the major causes of chronic dry eye is blocked meibomian oil glands called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Research has indicated that 86% of the people with chronic dry eyes have MGD. With increasing awareness of this problem in recent years, we now have many approaches to treat this condition. Here are some of the examples:
- Hot compress – using heat to melt the clogging material and remove it.
- Debridement scaling – using an instrument to express ( squeeze) the clogging material out
- Instruments that heat the eyelid for ease of clogging removal
- Intraductal meibomian gland probing – the subject of discussion in this blog.
What Causes MGD?
Although dry eye is a complex, multifactorial disease, MGD is the most common cause of chronic dry eye diseases. The meibomian glands produce lubricants to thicken your tears; without it, your tear is too thin, which causes evaporative dry eyes. MGD is the physical obstruction of the meibomian gland duct and orifice. The lubricants now have reduced meibum or meibum that lacks sufficient qualitative properties to stabilize the tear film.
How do meibomian glands become clogged
The causes of meibomian gland obstruction are interrelated to dry eyes.
Meibomian glands are sebaceous, and hormones control the lipid production of sebaceous glands throughout the body. When we age, our sex-steroid hormone levels also decrease, which causes the meibum to become thicker. At the same time, the production and secretion of lipids fall off. This is why post-menopausal women have dry eyes, and most of them have MGD.
Meibomian glands are related to hair follicles—they are also called “hair follicles without the shaft.” Meibomian glands retain a cellular commitment to keratinization ( new cells growing from the bottom while sluffing off old cells from the top). Typically, testosterone stops keratinization. Low androgen levels cause keratinization of the meibomian duct epithelium. Obstructive keratinization occurs at the orifice (opening). Gritty keratinized cellular debris can mix with the thickened meibum and plug the orifice. Once the gland is occluded, un-secreted meibum collects, causing elevated intraductal pressure, enlargement of the central glandular duct, and swollen and tender eyelids.
Are Dry Eyes and MGD Related
The critical culprit of MGD is inflammation, and dry eyes result in a high level of inflammation.
The processes of hyperkeratinization(which happens at a faster speed) can occur without inflammation. Inflammation may also play a role in MGD. Increased intraductal pressure can result in inflammation and diffuse scare tissues often seen on the autopsy of meibomian glands of post-menopausal women. Scare tissues of the gland and orifice may inhibit meibum secretion. Eyelid heating, massage, compression, lid cleaning, and physical expression of the glands are standard MGD treatment regimens. Heating decreases the viscosity of meibum, possibly melting some plugs and allowing freer flow. Heating might also increase meibum production. Lid scrubbing aims at opening blocked ductal orifices and keeping them open.
Warm compresses followed by lid massage helps mobilize the meibum. The physical expression of blocked glands has the goal of removing the obstruction and emptying the gland. Meibomian express may require little effort, but more than a bit of force is necessary and can cause pain.
How Can TheraLife Help?
TheraLIfe Eye capsules reduce inflammation and restore normal tear functions. The meibomian glands will respond to the hot compress, fish oil, eyelid cleansing regimen much faster and better once inflammation is down. Read more about how TheraLife Eye works and how successful the TheraLife MGD protocol works.
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