Dry Eye Treatments at home- How to unclog Meibomian Glands
You have been told you have meibomian gland dysfunction. If you have Blepharitis, most likely you also have clogged meibomian glands.
How you can help unclog oil glands at home
Have your eye doctor teach you how to unclog your meibomian glands at home.
There are expensive equipment that apply heat to melt the clogging, but your glands will clog again. Use hot compress daily to keep them open.
How Does Meibomian Oil Glands Work?
The meibomian glands live in the upper and lower eyelids. There are approximately 15 - 20 glands per lid.
The gland openings lie on the edge of the eyelid just inside the eyelash line. The body of the gland is inside the tarsal plate, which is a very thin piece of cartilage that gives the eyelid its defined shape. When your doctor everts your lid (flips it inside out) he is flipping over the tarsal plate. Although most diagrams of meibomian glands show a hollow tubular structure that looks like a permanently open space, a meibomian gland is more of a potential space. If the gland is empty of meibomian oils, it collapses in on itself. In fact even when the gland is "full" only a very thin film of oils may actually separate the cells lining the walls of the meibomian gland.
Meibomian oils are not squirted onto the surface of the eye. They seep out slowly under the gentle pumping action of eyelid blinking, combined with continuous oil production which pushes oils out onto the eye lid margin when the gland's potential space is fully expanded. When the eyelid margin becomes inflamed, this inflammation can "cap off" the meibomian gland orifices. There are numerous causes of eyelid margin inflammation that will not be discussed here. If the glands continue to vigorously produce oils, the oils erupt through the sides of the glands and coalesce into a mass commonly referred to as a stye. However in many patients, obstruction of normal oil seepage causes the meibomian gland to decrease production and the oils retained in the gland become thick and degraded.
In the past 2 - 4 years, eye care providers have become more widely aware of the connection between meibomian gland dysfunction and ocular surface symptoms. One simple office test is to lightly press on the glands while the patient is seated at the slit lamp. The examiner is looking for the quantity and quality of oils, how many glands express, how hard s/he has to push to make this happen, and how readily the oils disperse into the tear film.
Meibomian oils are quite easy to see at the slit lamp but essentially impossible to see with the naked eye except through elaborate magnification methods.It is not necessary for 100% of the meibomian glands to function for adequate oils to be secreted into the tear film. Many asymptomatic patients have far fewer than 100% of the glands producing oils at any given time. Lower lid meibomian glands seem to "take a hit" sooner that upper lid glands, so it is important for your doctor to express both upper and lower lids to give your glands an overall function score. Patients with about 80% of their upper lid glands functioning well may have no symptoms even if the lower lid glands are producing almost nothing.
How does oil gland expression mean?
Eye care providers sometimes prescribe meibomian gland self-expression or patients take it upon themselves to "clear out" their glands periodically. Generally the process is to apply heat to liquefy the oils, followed by eyelash cleaning (or sometimes the reverse order) and then gland expression.
TheraLife Eye is effective in reducing inflammation and stimulates tear flow for chronic dry eye relief. Often people with chronic dry eyes also have Blepharitis. Treating chronic dry eyes reduces the inflammation, and also helps to reduce the recurrence of blepharitis. It is highly recommended that those who have Blepharitis stay on TheraLife Eye long term to increase the rate of success.
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