Dry Eye Disease and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Do you frequently experience dry eyes? If so, you need to know that it is one of the most common eye complaints, so you are not alone. Eyecare experts consider it a multifactorial condition since it results from activities in various ophthalmic pathways. One of the primary causes of dry eye disease is a dysfunction in the meibomian gland.
Relationship Between Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Dry Eye Disease
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is a common eye disorder with various symptoms and contributing mechanisms. Understanding the pathophysiology of MGD and its relationship to dry eye disease is important. This is because it can help optimize diagnosis and treatment options/procedures.
One of the most important factors that contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome is MGD. This eye condition can determine the severity of your dry eye symptoms.
What Are Meibomian Oil Glands?
These are the tiny oil glands lining the margins of your eyelids. They secrete oil that coats your eye’s surface and keeps the water component of your tears from drying out or evaporating. The purpose of the tear film is to lubricate the eye and keep its surface healthy.
It can also affect how well you see. Poor quality tears or a decrease in the oil or water content in your tears can cause blurred vision, irritation, and other symptoms.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
This refers to an eye condition where the meibomian glands fail to secrete enough oil or secrete poor quality oil. Often, this happens due to plugging up or blockage, resulting in less oil coming out of the glands. The oil that fails to make it out of the glands can be unhealthy or otherwise crusty, irritating the eyes.
Meibomian gland dysfunction is quite common. In its early stages, you may not experience any symptoms. But left untreated, it can cause or worsen symptoms of dry eye and eyelid inflammation. Severely clogged glands will eventually be unable to secrete any oil. This can lead to dry eyes and permanent changes to the tear film.
Dry Eye Disease
This is one of the most common eye surface conditions. This ocular condition occurs when one’s tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for one’s eyes. Tear instability and inadequacy can stem from various factors. For example, you may produce poor quality tears or not enough tears, which can lead to inflammation and even damage to the eye’s surface.
How MGD Can Lead to Dry Eyes
MGD can disrupt the lipid/oil layer of the tear film, which can affect the rate of tear evaporation. This, in turn, can lead to hyperosmolarity of the tears, which may eventually trigger the onset of dry eye syndrome. This is the reason eye doctors strongly associate dry eye disease with MGD. Also, many of their signs, symptoms, and risk factors overlap.
Left untreated, MGD might worsen over time and lead to complete obstruction of the glands. This may subsequently lead to meibomian gland atrophy, which can result in dry eyes and permanent changes in your tear film. Hence, it is critically important to seek treatment from your eye doctor as soon as possible.
To learn more about dry eye disease and MGD, contact Horizon Eye Care & Optical at our office in Sugar Land, Texas. You can call (281) 313-2020 today to schedule an appointment.