Question 1: What is MGD in the Eye?

Answer: MGD is an abnormality of the meibomian glands where the openings to the glands are often blocked, the amount of oils produced by the glands is reduced and/or the quality of oils is reduced.

Question 2: What does MGD Mean?

Answer: MGD stands for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

Question 3: What Causes MGD?

Answer: The most common causes of MGD are:

  • age
  • certain medications (e.g. derivatives of retinoic acid used for treating acne; hormone replacement therapy used by women during menopause; antihistamines; antidepressants; anti-androgen medication used for enlarged prostate); endocrine disorders (e.g. menopause; pregnancy)
  • prolonged use of contact lenses
  • immune system disorders (e.g. Sjögren syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; psoriasis; atopic and acne rosacea)

Question 4: Is there a Cure for MGD?

Answer: There’s no cure as such.  However, treatments are effective is restoring meibomian gland function and reducing and sometimes eliminating the symptoms of MGD.  Looking after your eyelids is like looking after your teeth.  You should apply warm compresses and gently massage the eyelids daily.

Treatments such as IPL offer excellent results in reducing the severity of MGD and after the initial treatments, a single annual treatment is advised.

Question 5: What are the Recommended Treatments for MGD?


  • Daily warm compresses
  • Meibomian expression
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Dietary changes like eating more oily fish & flaxseed
  • IPL
  • Lipiflow
  • Artifical tears and liposomal sprays may help relieve symptoms

Question 6: How is MGD Diagnosed?

Answer: The eyelid margins will be evaluated using a microscope.  Secondly, the quality of the oils will be evaluated by gently pressing on the lid margins.  Only light pressure should be required to express a clear, yellow liquid.  Opaque liquid indicates early MGD and a toothpaste type consistency indicates moderate to severe MGD.  Other tests such as meibomgraphy will be used to actually visualize glands that are active within the eyelid.  As MGD ultimately causes the glands to die, an absence of glands further indicates MGD.  The amount of oil in the tears will also be assessed using a Tearscope and the tear break up time provides an indication of the quality of tears.