WHAT IS MGD?
MGD is the most common form of lid margin disease. In the early stages, patients are often asymptomatic, but if left unmanaged, MGD can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms and eyelid inflammation. The oil glands become blocked with thickened secretions. Chronically clogged glands eventually become unable to secrete oil which results in permanent changes in the tear film and also dry eyes.
In Meibomian Gland Disease the oil becomes abnormally thick or the openings of these glands become blocked. The glands continue to produce an oil and this causes the gland to expand like a balloon being inflated.
When some of the oil leaks out from the gland into the surrounding skin tissue, it causes significant irritation. You will experience a sensation of pain and swelling around the whole eyelid. The eyelid also becomes red and hot. Often this is confused with an infection and you may be prescribed and antibiotic at this point.
The body reacts by sending cells to the area that form a capsule around the oil that has been leaked out. At this point you may feel or even be able to see a tender lump developing under the skin of the eyelid. Over time the swelling and the redness will decrease and a discrete lump may remain that can be felt and often seen on the eyelid.
The fact that you are developing these lumps suggests the oil is not flowing freely from the glands. Regular heating and massage of the glands may help prevent further lumps from developing.
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