Heating and expression of meibomian glands for Dry Eyes

86% of patients who present with symptoms, such as discomfort, redness, tearing, gritty or burning sensations and blurry vision, have Meibomian Gland Disease (MGD). 

Heating and expression of meibomian glands for Dry Eyes in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

All too often people with symptoms such as discomfort, redness, tearing, gritty or burning sensations and blurry vision will be sent home with eye drops. Eye doctors that specialize in dry eye disease understand the importance of identifying the root cause of the symptoms in order to provide effective treatment. Studies show that over 80% of dry eye sufferers have blockage to their meibomian glands as an underlying cause. 

There are a number of available treatments for dry eye, in particular for dry eye caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, which can greatly help patients. If you are suffering from dry eye, look for an eye doctor that has one of the advanced technologies below to treat meibomian gland disease. 

What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a common eye problem that is often the root cause of dry eye. The condition is when there is inflammation and clogging of small glands located in the eyelids which produce the oily layer of tears. When these glands are inflamed and clogged, less of this oil makes it into the tear film, causing them to evaporate more quickly. As a result, you experience irritated, burning, watery, gritty, painful, dry eyes.

What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

A common method for treating MGD is applying warm compresses to and then massaging the eyelids. The objective of this treatment is to unclog the openings of the meibomian glands.

There are simple, at-home methods of treatment such as warm compresses and massaging the eyelids, however, these tend to only provide a small measure of relief.

However, there are other treatment options, often done in an optometry office that specializes in dry eye disease, involving providing heat therapy to the eyelids followed by massaging of the eyelids to get the melted oil out of the glands.

Treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

In-Office Treatment Options for Dry Eye Caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

Systane iLux

The Systane iLux MGD treatment is a portable, hand-held device which utilizes an LED heat source to warm both the inner and outer surfaces of your eyelids. This melts away waxy secretions which can be trapped in the meibomian glands. Once the secretions have been melted, the doctor will apply compression to your eyelids to express the clogged glands while also observing the process to assess your current condition. This treatment process is typically quick, taking less than ten minutes in the office.

Studies show that this treatment generally results in major improvements in the symptoms of MGD and dry eyes from about two to four weeks after treatment.

Tearcare

TearCare is another treatment for MGD that is done in-office. This system works by using single use adhesive heating patches which are applied to the outside of the eyelids. These patches are in turn connected to a small and reusable heating unit. The heating is applied for 12 minutes, after which the doctor will squeeze the lids to open and drain the clogged glands.

A recent study on TearCare showed that it was an effective treatment for both MGD and dry eye, resulting in symptom reductions that lasted at least six months.

LipiFlow

LipiFlow is another in-office medical device for treating MGD. It attaches to the eyelids for 12 minute treatment sessions, and applies heat and pulse pressure to simultaneously melt the waxy deposits in the meibomian glands, and to open and express the glands.

Research has found that a single LipiFlow treatment significantly improves meibomian gland secretions and dry eye symptoms for as long as three years.

Mibo Thermoflo

This device, manufactured by Mibo Medical Group, uses a probe applied to the eyelids to apply heat. To soften and express meibomian material, the probe gently massages the lids with 108 degrees of heat.

EyeXpress

The EyeXpress device from Holbar Medical Products is a heat mask with a soft gel insert attached to a heating element. Using a mask that is applied to the anterior surface of the patient's lids and heated to 110 degrees, the meibomian tissue is softened. Afterward, the clinician expresses material manually from the glands.

Intense pulsed light

Although IPL has been used in dermatology for over a decade, it is a newer approach for eyecare. Dry eye is treated by addressing its multiple causes. The short flashes of light cause the blood vessels in the lids to dilate and the skin temperature to rise. As a result, the meibum will become softer and can be expressed manually by clinicians or naturally by blinking.  IPL therapies are usually performed in several sessions spaced over weeks or months. For continued results, patients may require maintenance appointments every six months or annually.

What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

Today, there are several effective treatment methods for meibomian gland dysfunction. If you are suffering from dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, contact us at (360) 491-2121 to schedule an appointment.

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  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


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  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


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  • Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


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  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

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