Identifying The Leading
Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

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When Dry Eye Is Caused By Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

Much research has been performed on Dry Eye causes in the past 20 years.  It is now known that, in most patients who present Dry Eye symptoms, tear production is not the primary problem.  For the overwhelming majority of patients with Dry Eye symptoms, blocked Meibomian glands in the eyelids have been shown to affect 86% of patients with dry eye1.  This is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction commonly referred to as MGD. MGD occurs when there is compromise to the function and/or structure of the Meibomian glands. These glands, located in the eyelids produce the protective oily (lipid) layer of the tear film. This oil helps protect the surface of the eye from disease and prevents the watery part of the tears from evaporating when your eyes are open. Without these oils, the eyes become more susceptible to the negative effects that dry climates, air conditioning, computer use, reading and other daily activities can have on the long-term health of our eyes.

Detecting MGD at its earliest stages is imperative to ensure long-term tear film health and avoid Dry Eye symptoms. Today, there are various tests that can be performed during your eye exam to assess Meibomian gland function and structure. Assessing Meibomian gland function and structure is essential to help your doctor determine an appropriate course of action.

Evaluating Gland Function and Tear Film Health

When your eye care professional is checking Meibomian gland function, the goal is to evaluate if the glands are secreting the right amount of oil and if the oil is of the right consistency. An assessment of gland function requires your eye doctor to apply gentle pressure over the eyelids to observe gland secretion. The pressure is applied while you are seated at the slit lamp, so the doctor can view the gland secretions under magnification and causes minimal discomfort.

A Picture Tells The Story of Meibomian Gland Structure

Evaluating the structure of the Meibomian glands is essential to understand how to manage your Meibomian glands over the long term. The best way to image the glands is using breakthrough Dynamic Meibomian Imaging® (DMI) technology. DMI takes a picture of your eyelids that shows you and your eye care professional:

  • The current appearance and structure of your glands
  • The presence of gland loss or any structural changes
Minimal Structural Changes
Significant Gland Loss

When MGD is present and not treated, the glands can atrophy, much like what happens to muscles when they are not used. Gland loss can present a serious long-term problem as there is no way to restore gland function when gland loss occurs.

Instruments Used for Imaging Meibomian Glands

There are two main instruments on the market today used for imaging Meibomian Glands. They are the LipiView II and LipiScan. Ask your eye care professional if they have these instruments available in their practice. While there may be other means for evaluating gland function and structure, these two instruments are the only ones that offer Dynamic Meibomian Imaging, providing high resolution images of your gland structure.

LipiView II
LipiScan

1Lemp 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; 31(5):472-478.