Meibomian gland dysfunction symptoms

Healthy Meibomian glands secrete oil with every blink. This oil, or lipid, serves as a critical component of a healthy tear film. When the glands are not functioning properly, it is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). MGD is a leading cause of Dry Eye and can be the source of dry eye symptoms, such as burning, stinging, and itching.

Can You Answer Yes to These Dry Eye Symptom Questions? 

If Yes, You May Want to Ask Your Doctor About Dry Eye and MGD

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.1 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.2

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    Do your eyes feel dry, gritty, and scratchy?

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    Do you experience burning and watery eyes?

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    Do your eyes often feel tired?

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    Do your dry eye symptoms get in the way of your work or daily activities?

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    Do you wear contact lenses?

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    Do you often use eye drops and other means for short-term dry eye relief?

If left untreated, dry eye symptoms may progress. Damage in the form of blocked Meibomian glands and gland loss can also occur. These glands are vital to long-term health of the ocular surface. Eye drops and other means, such as warm compresses, offer only short-term relief to dry eye symptoms. They will not treat the underlying cause of Dry Eye, which is most often MGD. 

Screening is the best way to help determine whether you should talk to your doctor about MGD or Dry Eye. A screening for Dry Eye and MGD is easy and involves a simple questionnaire. Your doctor will also likely take an image of your eyelid, revealing the complete gland structure and any Meibomian gland loss.

Maintaining healthy function and structure of your Meibomian glands before you have dry eye symptoms is key, as MGD is a chronic, progressive, and obstructive condition.4-6 Whether you have symptoms or not, it is important that you get screened for Dry Eye and MGD. And don’t worry—if you are diagnosed with MGD, there’s something you can do about it. Early detection and treatment can minimize the long-term negative impact of MGD.

Help for Dry Eye Symptoms May All Be in Your Eyelids.

The first step in treatment for your dry eye symptoms is to find a doctor near you and get screened for Dry Eye and MGD. Once you are diagnosed, you can consider the TearScience® LipiFlow® treatment option. TearScience® LipiFlow® treatment is a safe in-office procedure for the treatment of MGD.


1. 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. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. Nichols KK, Hanlon SD, Nichols JJ. A murine model for characterizing glandular changes in obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction. ARVO. 2014. Abstract #13-A0002. 5. Schaumberg DA, Nichols JJ, Papas EB, Tong L, Uchino M, Nichols KK. The international workshop on meibomian gland dysfunction: report of the subcommittee on the epidemiology of, and associated risk factors for, MGD. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Mar;52(4):1994-2005. 6. Tomlinson A et al. The International Workshop on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: Report of the Diagnosis Subcommittee. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011;52(4):2006-49.