The Link Between Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Dry Eye Syndrome

Studies show that people who suffer from dry eye disease (DED) can also suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The Dry Eye Foundation confirms the connection between the two conditions. After all, low-quality tears can worsen your DED because they lack oil, and the meibomian glands produce this oil. Understanding the link between MGD and DED can help you get the right treatments. Here are the details. 


The Connection


DED’s symptoms include discharge, eye irritation, and blurred vision. Research reveals that MGD contributes to the onset and worsening of DED. MGD is an abnormal occurrence in the oil glands lining your eyelid margin. 

Healthy tears have mucus, water, and lipids. Once a blockage in the oil gland openings builds up and hardens, tears decrease in quality. This then speeds up the evaporation of your tears. DED causes eyelid infections and eye irritation. Knowing the MGD warning signs can lead to early diagnosis and treatments before the onset of dry eye symptoms.


The Severity of MGD


This condition may not receive treatment at all. If this is the case, the condition will worsen. The glands will have a severe obstruction over time. This will lead to the shrinking of the meibomian glands. The significant decrease in the gland’s size affects the quality of tears that you produce. Eyelid pain, chronic dry eye syndrome, and eye irritation are the symptoms that you can expect. Chronic dry eye increases your risk of eye infections.

You must receive treatments right away once you have an MGD diagnosis. Taking your medications on time is important. Eyelid cleansing, warming, and massaging are important.


Conditions That Involve MGD and DED


Some people suffer from both MED and DED. These eye conditions can emerge because of an underlying disease. Asking your primary doctor and eye doctor to perform necessary tests to confirm your eye disorder is vital. Here are the diseases that can lead to MGD and DED:

  • Diabetes has a link to both DED and MGD. Studies reveal that at least 50 percent of diabetic patients develop dry eyes. The severity depends on how long they have been living with diabetic retinopathy and diabetes. Research reveals that MGD also has a link to diabetes. In fact, the frequency of this eye disease increases in diabetic patients more than in people without diabetes. 

  • Rosacea also causes eye conditions. Patients with this eye disease can develop DED, blepharitis, and MGD. Mild cases of rosacea with mild MGD and blepharitis can get relief from warm compresses and better eyelid hygiene. People with more severe cases must use topical azithromycin. You may also consider new therapies, such as meibomian gland probing and intense pulse light. Avoiding triggers like stress and spicy foods can help with MGD and DED. 

  • Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease. DED can make this condition even more uncomfortable. Research shows there is a higher risk of MGD in patients with Graves’ disease. 

Confirming the connection between MGD and DED can lead to better treatments and therapies. At Manchester Eyecare, we make sure that our patients regain their eye health with our effective products and services. Feel free to visit our facility in North Manchester, Indiana, for a one-on-one consultation. Please call 260-306-3937 to schedule an appointment or inquire about our MGD or DED treatments.

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