It’s Called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). And It’s Pretty Common.

Your Meibomian glands produce the oily part of the tear film needed to protect the surface of your eye by preventing the evaporation of the watery part of your tears. When this function is not working well, your eyes may feel dry. This is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or MGD. MGD is a leading cause of Dry Eye. It can be the source of most dry eye symptoms, such as burning, stinging, and itching. But because MGD is a progressive disease, it can be present even when asymptomatic. In fact, 1 in 5 MGD patients may not have any dry eye symptoms.1


How Does Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Cause Dry Eye?

MGD is caused by a blockage of the Meibomian glands located in the eyelids. MGD is a chronic progressive condition and, if left untreated, may worsen over time, leaving eyes feeling more irritated, inflamed, and dry.2 And despite how it sounds, the cause of Dry Eye is rarely due to a lack of the watery part of your tears but rather an insufficient lipid layer that is needed to prevent the watery part from evaporating too quickly between blinks. In fact in one study, 86% of all Dry Eye patients had MGD.3

Many Conditions Contribute to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

MGD is also known as Evaporative Dry Eye. Evaporative Dry Eye can be caused by activities or conditions that are common in everyday life.













With this wide range of common activities and conditions, it’s no wonder that a leading cause of Dry Eye is MGD. In fact, in a single study, it was shown that MGD was prevalent in:











If it sounds like the cause of your Dry Eye might be MGD, get screened and discuss with your doctor if a TearScience® LipiFlow® treatment might be right for you.


What Do Meibomian Glands Look Like?


As part of the Dry Eye evaluation for MGD, your doctor will likely take an image of your Meibomian glands. He or she should review the images with you and discuss the level of visible glands you have, if any. A Meibomian gland structure ranges anywhere from normal to significant gland loss, depending on whether or not the disease is present and its severity. Your doctor may conduct additional tests since imaging alone cannot diagnose MGD.


Images for illustrative purposes only. Actual results may vary.



If you have been evaluated for Dry Eye before, but your Meibomian glands were not discussed, you may need to be screened again. We can help you find a doctor near you. It’s also important to remember that, while eye drops such as artificial tears may soothe some symptoms of Dry Eye, they provide temporary palliative relief and do not address or remove gland obstruction. Even Dry Eye prescription drops will not address MGD or evaporative Dry Eye. You may need to consider getting a treatment specifically for MGD.

No matter the type of MGD you are diagnosed with, you can take action before it progresses further. Leaving MGD, a leading cause of Dry Eye, untreated may make contact lens wearing uncomfortable or cause fluctuating vision6. It may also delay your ability to have cataract or LASIK surgery.

Get Screened and Treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

Find a doctor near you who can screen for and treat MGD, the underlying cause of Dry Eye, including using TearScience® LipiFlow® treatment—a safe in-office procedure for the treatment of MGD.


1. Viso E, et al. Prevalence of asymptomatic and symptomatic Meibomian Gland Dysfunction in the general population of Spain. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012; 53(6): 2601–2606. doi: 10.1167/ iovs.11-9228. 1992;19(12):1950-1954. 2. Nichols KK, Foulks GN, Bron AJ, et al. The international workshop on meibomian gland dysfunction: executive summary. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Mar;52(4):1922-1929. 3. Lemp MA, Crews LA, Bron AJ, Foulks GN, Sullivan BD. Distribution of aqueous-deficient and evaporative dry eye in a clinic-based patient cohort: a retrospective study. Cornea. 2012 May;31(5):472-478. 4. Duke University website. Immune response likely culprit in eyelid gland condition that causes dry eye. Found at:, July 2018. Accessed December 10, 2019. 5. American Optometric Association, Paraoptometric Resource Center, CPC Submission, T Petrosyan. Cosmetics and the eye: how your beauty products could be harming your eyes. Found at: 2018. Accessed December 10, 2019. 6. Machalinska A, Zakrzewska A, Adamek B, et al. Comparison of morphological and functional meibomian gland characteristics between daily contact lens wearers and nonwearers. Cornea. 2015 Sep;34(9):1098-1104. 7. Uzunosmanoglu E, Mocan MC, Kocabeyoglu S, Karakaya J, Irkec M. Meibomian gland dysfunction in patients receiving long-term glaucoma medications. Cornea. 2016 Aug;35(8):1112-1116. 8. Cochener B, Cassan A, Omiel L. Prevalence of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction at the time of cataract surgery. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2018 Feb;44(2):144-148.