The Dry Eye Zone    
FAQ News Dry Eye Encyclopedia About The Dry Eye Zone Contact
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)

UPDATE (February 2018) - This page has useful information but the treatments section is way out of date! There are, thankfully, more MGD treatements on the market all the time. We are working on updating our website entirely and will have a much more detailed section on MGD when the new site is launched in March, 2018.


Your oil glands have gone on strike!

The meibomian glands are located in the eyelids. Secretions from these glands comprise the lipid (oily) layer of the tear film which is so crucial in preventing rapid evaporation of the tears. Failure of these glands to produce or secrete oil - due to chronic blockage, thickening of the meibum, etc. will affect the quality and stability of the tear film, which in turn will produce classic dry eye symptoms even in people whose dry eye test results appear normal. A TBUT should show whether the oil layer of the tear film is adequate or not.

Meibomian gland dysfunction is quite common and unfortunately it often goes undiagnosed. Even when diagnosed is often not treated or is not treated effectively until it has become chronic or severe.

MGD may be inflammatory (often as a result of blepharitis) or atrophic.

For more non-technical background to put MGD in context, please read Dry Eye for Dummies.


"Dry eye" (in the aqueous deficiency sense): Many people who have dry eye symptoms are treated as though the cause is aqueous deficiency, e.g. with artificial tear supplementation and punctal plugs, when in fact their primary problem is meibomian gland dysfunction. Some researchers believe that up to 70% of chronic dry eye may actually be MGD, not "classic" dry eye.

Blepharitis: Blepharitis is related because chronic blepharitis will cause chronic meibomian gland dysfunction, which in turn will cause dry eye symptoms. But blepharitis should not be confused with meibomian gland dysfunction. Keep in mind that you may clear up the bleph and still have MGD.


Typical treatments for MGD may include, depending on specifics of the condition:


DryEyeZone    Web

The Dry Eye Shop

The Dry Eye Shop

Owned and operated by The Dry Eye Company





The Dry Eye Zone home page The Dry Eye Zone home page