Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Close,Up,Of,Red,Eye,Before,And,After,Treatment,Or Meibomian gland dysfunction–or MGD–is a common eye condition in which the glands become blocked and don’t produce enough oil. Without the proper amount of oil, the eyes can become dry and irritated. Many people who have MGD are unaware of their condition. Let’s take a look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment for MGD so you can receive the proper diagnosis.

What Is MGD?

Your meibomian glands–tiny glands in your eyelids that provide your natural tears with oil–can become clogged. This causes less oil to reach the eye’s surface, leading to discomfort around the eye. Some people with MGD form styes, or small yellowish bumps, along their lash lines.

MGD Causes

Younger people are more likely to develop MGD than older people, and people with Asian ancestry are more likely to develop the condition than people of other ancestries.

Wearing contact lenses can also make you more susceptible to MGD. Furthermore, certain health conditions, such as high cholesterol or triglycerides, certain autoimmune conditions, and allergic conjunctivitis, can all increase the likelihood of developing MGD. If you have a bacterial infection in or around your eye, you may also develop MGD.


Many people who have MGD don’t notice any symptoms at first. Over time, however, the blocked glands may make it difficult for your eyes to get the necessary tears to keep them from becoming dry and uncomfortable. People with MGD often feel like their eyes are burning or itching or like there’s something in their eye (like a grain of sand) that they can’t get out.

The affected area may appear irritated, uneven, and inflamed. Vision can also be affected due to reduced tear production.


Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may ask that you treat your MGD at home using hot compresses. If your MGD cannot be treated at home, your doctor may prescribe eye drops, antibiotics, or steroids to help you get the necessary relief.

Keamy Eye & Laser Centre: Here for All Your Vision Care Needs

At Keamy Eye & Laser Centre, Dr. Keamy and the rest of our care team are here to help you and your family with all of your vision needs. Whether you’re looking for a standard vision exam or need treatment for an eye condition, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to our office in Westborough, MA, today at 508-836-8733 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

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