Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
What is Blepharitis/Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) or Blepahritis, is a condition causing inflammation of the eyelids. Each eyelid, both upper and lower contains over 20 meibomian glands that are responsible for producing the outer, oily layer of the tear film.
In many people the glands can become blocked or irritated. Skin type (most commonly), hormones, nutrition and general health conditions may contribute. Blepharitis is divided into two types – anterior and posterior.
This is often part of an overall skin condition where the skin is too dry, for example, in patients that also suffer from dry scalp (dandruff). On occasion, it can be caused by bacterial infection. Symptoms include itch and soreness, whilst the signs are of redness of the lid margin, scaling, chaffing and flaking of skin such that tiny waxy scales surround the lashes.
Posterior Blepharitis – also know as MGD
This occurs when the openings of the meibomian glands become blocked with their own secretions. It can have dramatic effect on the quality of the tear film, resulting in secondary dry eye syndrome. Symptoms are similar to anterior blepharitis, however, more signs manifest due to complications specific to MGD. These include lumps in the eyelids caused by a blocked gland that continues to secrete (chalazia) or painful inflammatory lesions around the edges of the cornea (marginal keratitis). Both require specific treatment.
What is the management of blepharitis?
In general, careful cleaning of the eyelids to clear away the secretion allows the meibomian glands to function normally. Application of heat to the eyelid for a few minutes warms the secretions. A washcloth soaked in warm water with a few drops of baby shampoo, if recommended, is then used to gently scrub the area. In some circumstances, a specifically designed product is used and some cases require prescribed antibiotic drops, ointments or tablets.
Dr Beltz will diagnose which form of blepharitis you have and advise you on the best treatment methods for your condition.