MGD and Dry Eye Treatment Options

Dry Eye and MGD Treatment Options

Effectively treating dry eye symptoms has frustrated many patients and eye care professionals alike for many decades. This is in part due to an incorrect assumption that most dry eye was caused by a lack of tear production, and dry eye symptoms were the result of chronic inflammation of the eye surface. This assumption has focused dry eye care on suppressing dry eye symptoms through tear replacement and reduction of inflammation, rather than finding and treating the root cause of the problem. Essentially, most dry eye treatment options have has been limited to palliative symptom relief rather than resolving the cause of the symptoms itself. Fortunately, it is now known that the leading cause of dry eye for millions is Meibomian Gland Disease (MGD).

Treating A Lacrimal Deficiency or Inadequate Tear Production

If you have dry eye that is solely caused by a lacrimal gland problem or a tear production deficiency, you are in the minority of dry eye sufferers. Your current treatment options are centered on suppressing inflammation and artificial tear replacement with eye drops to reduce or relieve your dry eye symptoms.

Eye Drops

Administering Eye Drops for Dry Eye Treatment

Ocular Lubricants are used to provide temporary relief of dry eye symptoms by adding fluid to the eye.

Prescription Medications

Pills for Dry Eye Treatment

Medications prescribed for Dry Eye are typically used to alleviate patient symptoms and also may be used to reduce inflammation, as needed.

Punctal Plugs

Punctum Plug Treatment for Dry Eye

Punctal Plugs are inserted into the tear ducts to block the outflow of tears. The goal is to hold the tears on the eye.

Eye Lid Scrubs

Products to relieve Dry Eye symptoms

Eye Lid Scrubs are used to remove debris from the eyelashes and the lid margins. Lid hygiene is key to maintaining health of the meibomian glands and surface of the eye. Good lid hygiene requires that both the lashes and lid margins be cleaned regularly. The importance of good lid hygiene is similar to good oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing teeth regularly.

Hot Compresses

Compress for Dry Eye Treatment

Warm/Hot Compresses heat the eyelids from the front surface. However, it is difficult to achieve and sustain the level of heat needed to treat MGD using front surface heating.  Compliance with daily use of compresses is an essential part of this therapy.11

Omega – 3 Oils

Fish Oil for Dry Eye Relief

Omega – 3 Oils- Omega-3 oils suppress systemic inflammation, which contributes to dry eye symptoms.

Treating the Most Common Cause of All Dry Eye: MGD or Inadequate Oil Production

The most common cause of dry eye symptoms is MGD. Meibomian glands produce oil (lipid) that aids in preventing loss of the tears from the eye surface. MGD occurs when the normal function of the meibomian glands in the eyelids becomes compromised because of gland blockages that occur over time, resulting in inadequate oil production into the tears. So, the core therapy for MGD is to directly treat the gland blockages. The only electronic FDA-cleared treatment for MGD is LipiFlow, which uses a precise application of heat to the inside of the eyelids, close to the location of the meibomian glands, and massage to outside of the eyelids.

LipiFlow® – FDA Cleared and Proven to Be Effective in Clinical Studies

LipiFlow uses vectored thermal pulsating eyepieces known as Activators. LipiFlow Activators are precisely designed to provide necessary inner and outer lid contact to properly apply heat and massage and evacuate the meibomian glands. The entire treatment takes approximately 12 minutes.

The clinical science behind MGD as the primary cause of dry eye and its treatment is supported by over 25 years of scientific research.  Removal of the gland blockages is essential to improve gland function and reduce the progression of MGD.  Over time after treatment, the meibomian glands may become blocked again because of continued evaporative stress, which is caused by infrequent blinking from modern lifestyles and leads to thickening of the gland secretions and blockage of oil production.

LipiFlow treatment
LipiFlow is a 12 minute treatment that is the only FDA cleared treatment using thermal pulsating heat to remove blockages in the Meibomian glands.

When the Vectored Thermal Pulse (VTPTM) LipiFlow treatment is properly applied, the heat and gentle massaging action evacuate the blockages from the glands, allowing the glands to resume oil production. You and your eye care professional can determine how often LipiFlow should be repeated based on evaluation of your gland function and structure over time.

Find An MGD Professional Near You

Other MGD Treatment Options

There are various other treatment options on the market today for MGD.

Treatment Options LipiFlow Outer Eyelid Heat Eyelid Exfoliation
Description An outer and inner eyelid thermal-pulsation treatment that directly treats and unblocks the meibomian glands and restores gland function. Designed for consistent application of heat and massage. An outer eyelid heat treatment. An eyecare professional may apply manual eyelid gland expression in conjunction with use of outer eyelid heat. A device for the removal of debris from the lids and lashes, primarily for those with Blepharitis or lid inflammation. Does not treat MGD.
Outer lid application Yes Yes Yes
Inner lid application Yes No No
Thermal Pulsation Yes No No