Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a condition where the Meibomian glands secrete a poor quality oil that is thick. Often, the opening to the oil glands get clogged up, allowing for less oil or no oil to pass through and out of the glands. The oil that does make it out of the glands can be granular (crusty) or otherwise abnormal and often causes the development of dry eye symptoms and irritation.
MGD is very common. While it is often asymptomatic, if it is left untreated, it can cause eyelid inflammation and dry eye symptoms. The primary purpose of the Meibomian glands is to provide the tear film with a thin oily layer. When this process isn’t allowed to happen, MGD can occur. MGD is linked to many ocular disorders, including evaporative dry eye, blepharitis, styes, chalazion, and ocular rosacea.
Symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction are similar to severe dry eye in that patients often report that their eyelids feel as though they’re stuck together in the morning, they feel a foreign body sensation, and have blurred vision after performing tasks. Patients may also report excessive tearing and intolerance to contact lenses. (Nichols JJ, Ziegler C, Mitchell GL, Nichols KK. Self-reported dry eye disease across refractive modalities.)