Many individuals experience the annoyance of having dry eyes, yet few correctly diagnose and treat it. Although in most situations, dryness does not permanently damage the eye or impair eyesight, it causes great irritation. It especially causes discomfort on windy days. Many times, dry eyes cannot be properly treated with generic artificial tears or eye drops. In lots of cases, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) causes the discomfort. Experts have said that nearly 1 in 4 people may suffer from MGD with cases being more frequent in older individuals.
Causes of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
The causes of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction are relatively straightforward. The Meibomian glands are located in the edge of the eyelid. They produce an oily substance composed mostly of lipids, which prevents the tear film from evaporating. The lipid fluid allows the tear film to spread evenly around the eyes and seals the lids when eyes are closed. The dysfunction may be caused by a buildup in the gland or an improper consistency of the lipids.
Those who already have Blepharitis are also more prone to MGD. Blepharitis is inflammation and infection in the eyelids, normally around the base of the eyelids and around the lashes. It also causes blurry vision, light sensitivity and a burning sensation. Additionally, there may be visible crusting around the eyes.
Blepharitis, MGD and other eye health issues can be partially prevented by proper eyelid hygiene. Most people do not worry about eyelid hygiene unless they start to experience issues with eye discomfort. Eyelids can be washed with diluted baby shampoo and a cotton swab. If using this method, it is crucial to carefully rinse the shampoo out. Holding a hot wet washcloth compress on your lids may be enough to maintain clean eyes. A final option is to purchase a lid scrub. These do the same thing as the baby shampoo but are formulated specifically for washing eyelids.
Symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction symptoms include red eyes, irritation, dry eyes, and blurry vision. The challenge is that a wide range of problems can cause most of these symptoms. To correctly pinpoint MGD, it is important to see an experienced optometrist. Like most health issues, half the battle toward maintaining eye health is in correctly diagnosing the health problem. Catching the problem in a timely manner can maintain healthy eyes and prevent harmful bacterial infection in the gland.
Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Once diagnosed, there are a few options with successful treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Using a warm compress on eyes regularly can help aid in eye health as well as lid scrubs and lubricant ointments. Taking a supplement of omega-3 fatty acid may also be a successful Meibomian Gland Dysfunction treatment. To decide which treatments will work best for your individual situation, it is always advantageous to speak with your optometrist.
Hopefully this information provides you with a better sense of how to prevent or remedy Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Remember this information is not to be taken as medical advice, always consult a professional before making any decisions.