Although asymptomatic to begin with, irritation, itchiness and a burning sensation can develop as the dysfunction progresses. Many people describe the feeling like having a grain of dust or grit trapped in the eye.
The eyelid may appear red and inflamed and the rim may appear rough or uneven. In some cases, there may also be some intermittent blurring of vision.
There is no particular symptom that can indicate whether you have a blockage in your meibomian glands. It’s therefore important to see a doctor as soon as possible to gain a diagnosis.
Here at the New Jersey Eye Center, we perform an examination of your eyelids to inspect the gland openings. A number of tests are carried out to measure the quality of meibum and check the speed of tear evaporation.
It’s the combination of all the results that will lead to the correct diagnosis.
In early detection of MGD, there are some simple steps that can be taken.
A warm compress can be placed over the eyes for a few minutes twice daily. Heat increases oil production and melts the oil that has solidified in the glands, allowing it to flow more freely.
Lightly massage the eyelids with the fingertips, rolling the finger towards the eyelashes. It’s important not to press too hard.
Dabbing along the upper and lower eyelash lines with a non-soap cleanser can help unblock gland openings. Your doctor will be able to advise the best product to use which will not cause additional problems.
Some patients benefit from taking supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids. They may boost the quality of meibum as they have anti-inflammatory properties. Again, speak with your doctor about whether they may help you.
In more advanced stages of MGD, your doctor may prescribe additional eye drops, creams, sprays or pills. These may contain antibiotics, lubricants or steroids depending on your individual requirements.
During the diagnosis process, your doctor may carry out a Lipiscan. This gives a clear, digital image of the meibomian glands. If the severity of the blockage is extreme, they may recommend an alternative treatment.
The New Jersey Eye Center, under direction of Dr. James Dello Russo, uses Lipiflow on many patients suffering from MGD.
Lipiflow is the only FDA approved procedure for the condition. A device is used to apply heat to the inner eyelids whilst massaging the eyes with pulsating squeezes. This gently removes blockages from the glands allowing them to produce the correct amount and quality of oil.
The whole, painless procedure can be carried out in-office and takes just 12 minutes.
Don’t let meibomian glands dysfunction go untreated. If you are concerned that you have any of the symptoms, get diagnosis and treatment quickly. Visit us at the New Jersey Eye Center in Bergenfield, NJ.