Our tears are made up of three components: the lipid (oil) layer, aqueous (water) layer, and the mucus (sticky) layer. These components work in unison to lubricate and coat the eyes, keeping them moist and comfortable. The meibomian glands are oil glands located in the eyelid that serve the
purpose of retaining moisture on the front surface of the eye. When these oil glands are not functional, moisture on the front surface of the eye evaporates significantly and this causes symptoms of dryness, burning, and discomfort.
What Are the Symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
What Are the Symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
The most common symptoms of MGD include:
- Blurry vision
- Burning and dry sensation
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Watery eyes
- Red, sore and gritty eyes
- Crusty or sticky eyelids
Increased use of air conditioning or heating systems in the summer and winter months may intensify symptoms. Humid climates, extreme temperatures, and dusty and windy conditions may aggravate eye dryness and itchiness as well.
What causes Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
- Age: MGD tends to manifest in older people, particularly in women during and after menopause
- Taking certain medications: particularly retinoic acid (acne treatment), HRT
(hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women), antidepressants,
antihistamines, anti-androgen medication (used to treat prostatic
- Endocrine disorders
- Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time.
- Immune system disorders: atopic rosacea, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and
Excessive screen time has also been linked to the development of MGD.
Studies show that staring at a screen on your TV, smartphone, computer or tablet, causes you to blink less frequently. Blinking is what causes these oil glands to produce oil. Less frequent blinking results in dryer eyes, which can harm the long-term ability of your meibomian glands to function properly.
How is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Diagnosed?
Traditionally, meibomian gland dysfunction was diagnosed based on the combined
appearance of the meibomian glands when viewed directly by the eye doctor and a
patient's symptoms. However, there is new technology that allows for the imaging of
these meibomian glands. This imaging technique is called Meibography.
Meibox MX2 Meibography
The Meibox MX2 is a diagnostic tool that allows the eye doctor to view the meibomian glands directly and make definitive diagnoses based on this imaging. During your dry eye evaluation, Dr. Christian Crespo and Dr. Douglas Lambertson at NJ Vision and Dry Eye Center will use this technology to determine if meibomian gland dysfunction is the cause of your symptoms of eye discomfort.
How is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Treated?
Overall, when these oil glands in the eyelid are not functioning properly, it is because
they are clogged. The goal is to return the glands back to their functional state by
removing the blockages.
The latest technology in treating Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is through
the TearCare System.
TearCare is a relatively new method of treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
and Blepharitis. It is a wearable eyelid technology device that administers gentle
heat directly to the meibomian glands to liquefy the meibum (oil), remove blockages
and stimulate tear production.
TearCare delivers heat directly to the eyelid through two small heating
devices that are applied directly to the eyelid by Dr. Christian
Crespo or Dr. Lambertson. Unlike other treatment methods,
TearCare allows the patient’s eyes to remain open and blinking
throughout the procedure.
The heating process takes about 15 minutes and after using the
TearCare device, Dr. Christian Crespo or Dr. Lambertson, will
manually clear away obstructions in the meibomian glands.
To learn more about the TearCare procedure, watch this video tutorial.
Is TearCare Safe?
TearCare is a safe and effective treatment method. The two eyelid devices contain temperature sensors that communicate with the smart hub multiple times per second, ensuring an even delivery of heat to the meibomian glands. The device,
controlled by computer software, is customizable and safely monitored throughout the entire process
The TearCare Device
TearCare is a 4-in-1 system that includes:
1. A smart hub, which is controlled by computer software to deliver the thermal
heat to the eyelids
2. A charging station for the smart hub
3. One-time use eyelid devices that gently conform to your eyelids
4. A one-time use instrument to manually remove blockages from the glands
Who is a Good Candidate for TearCare?
Patients using the TearCare system should be at least 22 years old.
If you wear contact lenses, they must be removed prior to the TearCare procedure.
Following treatment, you will need to wait one hour before re-inserting them.
Please let us know If you have an ocular surface abnormality, such as corneal dystrophy or a similar condition. TearCare may not be suitable in such cases. Inform us prior to administering the treatment in order to ensure an effective, comfortable procedure.
Do you have dry eyes and think you might have meibomian gland dysfunction?
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or conditions, then reach out to the NJ Vision and Dry Eye Center. Based on the degree of your condition, symptoms, and lifestyle, Dr. Christian Crespo and Dr. Douglas Lambertson will recommend the best course of treatment for you.
NJ Vision and Dry Eye Center serves patients from in and around the Central NJ area. The office is located in Old Bridge, NJ