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The Role of the Meibomian Glands in Dry Eye and LipiFlow® Effectiveness  

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition among Americans. By April 2022, about 16.4 million Americans had been diagnosed with the condition. The condition causes discomfort in your eyes, which can lower your quality of life. It can especially become unbearable if you wear contact lenses. Contact lenses can aggravate the symptoms significantly and may lead to corneal abrasions.


Dry eye syndrome usually comes in three forms: evaporative, decreased tear production, and contact lens-induced dry eye. Of these three, evaporative dry eye is the most common. It is usually associated with meibomian gland dysfunction. They are commonly associated because meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD, is usually the cause of the condition.


What Is Evaporative Dry Eye?


The tear film is usually made up of three layers that work together to keep the eye lubricated. When one of these layers is not present or working as it should, dry eye usually develops. Evaporative dry eye is considered dry eye that develops due to an unstable tear film. An unstable tear film occurs when the oily or lipid layer of the tear film is not working as it should. The three layers of a tear film are:


Mucin Layer


Produced and secreted by the scleral part of the eye, this is a mucin or mucus layer. It is the lowermost part of the tear film, and it helps spread the tear across the eye's surface.


Aqueous Layer


Better known as the water layer, it is the most voluminous of the three layers. It is secreted by the lacrimal glands and is usually the one that trickles down when you cry. It is responsible for keeping the eye moist.


Lipid Layer


Usually produced by the meibomian glands in your eyelids, this layer covers the entire tear film. It prevents the tear film from evaporating quickly. MGD can lead to this layer being absent or insufficient.


What Causes MGD?


MGD usually develops when the glands that secrete the oils become blocked. Blockage can occur when the oils become too thick in the glands and clog the outlets. Once clogged, the glands swell up and produce poor-quality lipids. They may also produce crispy oils that irritate the eye surface instead of protecting it.


When you do not get treatment for MGD, it usually leads to dry eye or blepharitis. MGD usually develops due to age, high triglyceride or cholesterol levels, bacterial infections, damaged cornea or inflamed eyelids, or autoimmune conditions.


LipiFlow for Dry Eye From MGD


LipiFlow® is an FDA-approved thermal pulsation device that uses gentle pressure and heat to ease the blockages in the meibomian glands. The technology has quickly become the gold standard for treating this condition. It is effective because it deals with the source of the issue.


Usually, a single session in the office lasts about twelve minutes only. You may get several sessions over a few weeks. Your glands should be back to normal by the sixth to eighth weeks.


For more on the role of meibomian glands in dry eye and LipiFlow effectiveness, visit Volusia Eye Associates at our office in New Smyrna Beach or Edgewater, Florida. Call (386) 427-4143 to book an appointment today.,+415+N+Causeway,+New+Smyrna+Beach,+FL+32169&ludocid=8187326901652864243#lrd=0x88e72942de87c211:0x719f3a705104bcf3,3