MGD, which stands for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, is classified as one of the more common eye conditions. You can get this condition when there is an issue with the tiny glands in the eyelids that assist with making tears.
How Does It Happen?
The Meibomian glands, which are named after a German doctor that studied these glands, makes the oil known as meibum. Mucus, water and meibum is what makes up the three-layers of what is known as tear film, which is the fluid that performs the function of making sure the eyes stay moist. It is the oil in this fluid which assists in preventing the layer of water over the surface of the eyes from drying up.
Changes to the quality or amount of this oil, or changes that occur in the glands can result in MGD. The more common type of this condition is known as obstructive MGD. This occurs when the openings to the glands become clogged. When the gland is clogged less of the oil is able to reach the surface of the eye.
Age is one of the contributing factors to this condition because the meibomian glands start to decrease as a person starts to age. Ethnicity also plays a role, and Asian people are around 3-times more prone to MGD in comparison to people from European ancestry. People who wear contact lenses are also more prone to developing MGD.
There are also medical issues that are linked with MGD. Some of these include:
- Triglycerides and high cholesterol
- Bacterial infections
- Damaged or inflamed cornea or eyelid
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Autoimmune diseases which include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and rosacea
There are also medications that can result in issues with the production of meibum, which include:
- Retinoids in anti-aging creams or acne medication
- Medication that lower androgen
- Estrogen replacement therapy
In the earlier stages, most people usually don't exhibit symptoms. But as the condition progresses, the quality of the oil becomes weaker or progressively less in the tear film, and the eyes might start to itch, burn, become dry or irritated. Some people experience a feeling like dust or grains of the sand in the eyes.
The inner rims of the eyelids that appear rough or uneven is another classic sign of this condition, yet not every person will have it. Some people even experience blurred vision from time to time. The symptoms will usually become worse if you use a computer for extended periods or the air in your office or home are dry, which is often caused by heating or air-conditioning.