In previous years, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD was treated with an application of warm compresses to the eyelids, which was followed by eyelid massaging. This treatment was supposed to get rid of any wax or thickened oil blocking the meibomian glands’ opening. However, it was discovered that massage and warm compresses are unable to treat the problem adequately and cannot effectively restore the normal functioning of meibomian glands. Thankfully, several new and more effective treatments are available these days.
Modern Treatments for MGD
Antibacterial Eye Drops
Some research studies have shown anti-bacterial eye drops to be highly effective in providing relief from the symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction. Your eye doctor should be able to advise during the eye exam whether such eye drops are the right option for you.
Meibomian Gland Probing
This simple technique unclogs the main duct and opening of the meibomian glands. The doctor uses a hand-held instrument for probing and dilating the meibomian gland openings that are near the base of eyelashes. This procedure is done after an application of an anesthetic eye drops. One research study has reported that more than 96% of patients experience immediate relief from symptoms after this procedure. Within one month, 100% of patients experienced relief after this procedure.
Another research study has also confirmed that around 76% of patients treated with this procedure experienced relief from symptoms within 24 hours after the procedure. The study also reported that patients who received a combination of corticosteroid eye drops and probing had much more complete and faster relief from symptoms as compared to patients treated only with corticosteroid eye drops.
Cyclosporine Eye Drops
Cyclosporine is an agent that is capable of modifying the immune response of the body in a particular manner. The prescription eye drops Restasis (Allergan), which is used for managing dry eye symptoms, contains cyclosporine.
Some eye doctors also recommend omega-3 fatty acids dietary supplements as an adjunct treatment to other MGD treatments. Omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease the risk of meibomian gland dysfunction in the future. Omega-3 may help in suppressing inflammation and may also help in decreasing the risk of buildup of wax within the meibomian glands.
This thermal pulsation system (TearScience) is an in-office procedure. In this procedure, sufficient heat is applied to the eyelids to melt away the waxy deposits in these glands. At the same time, pulse pressure is also applied to eyelids to open and thoroughly expose the contents of the glands. In a typical treatment session of 12 minutes, the device is attached to the eyelids to get rid of the waxy deposits.
The system is designed in a manner to keep the eyeballs safe and no pressure or heat is transferred from the eyelids. Some recent research studies have shown that this process is highly effective in reducing the symptoms and signs of MGD.
Be sure to ask Dr. Bassiri what specialty contact lens options there are as well.