Dry Eye and Meibomian Gland Disease
June 18, 2020
By Dr. Melissa Bollinger
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major effect on our daily lives and activities. Many of us have been working from home, possibly spending more time looking at computer screens, reading and watching TV, and using our eyes in ways we had not been previously.
Have you been noticing that your eyes are more tired, or that you are blinking or rubbing your eyes to keep reading material from becoming hazy or blurry? Maybe your eyes look bloodshot more frequently than in the past, or maybe you notice they are tearing and/or burning more than ever before. There are reasons why this is happening and there are solutions to these problems.
Studies show that when we fixate on a target, such as a computer screen, craft activity, or reading material for long periods of time, our blink rate is reduced by as much as 50%. When our blink rate is reduced, our tear production is reduced as well. There are tiny glands in our eyelids, called Meibomian glands, that produce oils that protect our tear film. The less we blink, the less our glands do their job. Over time, these glands can become clogged and not function properly, and can deteriorate over time causing irreversible damage, and increased eye symptoms. This condition is called Meibomian Gland Disease(MGD), and it is the leading cause of dry eye.
Fortunately, there is new technology that helps eye doctors to image and analyze these glands, and new treatment devices available that allow doctors to improve the function of these glands in patients who present with MGD. At Jacksoneye, we see patients daily who have this condition, and the ocular complaints that go along with it. We give patients questionnaires that help us to identify who would benefit from further testing to uncover MGD. During your eye exam, the doctor determines if you would benefit from an MGD treatment device.
Early detection is key to avoid long-term effects of gland loss, and years of ocular discomfort.