Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)

MGD is a chronic and progressive condition1,2,3

The outermost layer of the tear film, the lipid layer, is composed of oils from meibomian gland secretions that lubricate, prevent evaporation, and perform barrier functions. If glands become obstructed, qualitative and quantitative changes in glandular secretion may lead to symptoms of eye irritation, clinically apparent inflammation, and ocular surface disease.4

Eighty-six percent of patients diagnosed with dry eye have symptoms associated with an unstable tear film due to compromised meibomian gland function.5

Understanding MGD

Watch these videos to learn about the role of meibomian glands in ocular health

Ocular Surface and gland function in a healthy eye

In a healthy eye, pressure from a blink expresses a small amount of oil from the meibomian glands which is then distributed over the ocular surface as the eye opens. The ocular surface is the foundation for ocular comfort and visual quality.6

Impact of blocked meibomian glands

Obstruction of meibomian glands impedes the production of oils necessary to reduce aqueous evaporation and minimize harmful friction between the eyelids and cornea.

Long-term effects of untreated MGD

If left untreated, obstructed glands will reduce oil production, atrophy, and eventually drop out. Once a gland has atrophied completely, function is lost permanently, which leads to chronic discomfort and potentially sight-threatening damage to the ocular surface.

Functioning vs. Blocked Glands

Normal vs. Blocked Glands
Normal vs. Blocked Glands

MGD and Dry Eye Facts

63% of cataract patients have an unstable tear film.7

50% of contact lens wearers complain about ocular discomfort.8

86% of dry eye patients are affected by MGD.5

340 million people worldwide suffer from dry eye .9

The ocular surface is the foundation for ocular comfort and visual quality6

and it is impaired in much of the general population.4

Assessing Meibomian Glands

MGD can be evaluated based on observable compromise to gland function and/or structure.10

Assesing Meibbomian Glands Function

By simulating the pressure of a deliberate blink, the Meibomian Gland Evaluator (MGE) provides a standardized, repeatable evaluation of meibomian gland function during slit lamp examinations.

Learn More About MGE

Assesing Meibbomian Glands Structure

Dynamic Meibomian Imaging™ (DMI) technology available with LipiScan™ Dynamic Meibomian Imager and LipiView® II Interferometer simultaneously employs non-contact surface illumination and high-definition transillumination to provide an accurate visualization of gland morphology.

Learn About Lipiview II

Learn About Lipiscan

Improving Gland Function

The unique mechanism of action of the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System has been shown to improve gland function in patients with MGD.11

By simultaneous application of heat and peristaltic motion to the eyelid, obstructed meibum is safely liquefied and pushed out of the gland orifices.

Learn More about LIPIFLOW


1. Korb DR, Henriquez AS. Meibomian gland dysfunction and contact lens intolerance. J Am Optom Assoc. 1980 Mar;51(3):243-51.

2. Schaumberg DA, Nichols JJ, Papas EB et al. The international workshop on meibomian gland dysfunction: report of the subcommittee on the epidemiology of, and associated risk factors for, MGD. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Mar 30;52(4):1994-2005.

3. Nichols KK, Hanlon SD, Nichols JJ. A Murine Model for Characterizing Glandular Changes in Obstructive Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. ARVO 2014, Abstract #14-A0002.

4. Nichols KK, Foulks GN, Bron AJ, et al. (2011) The international workshop on meibomian gland dysfunction: executive summary. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 52: 1922–1929

5. Lemp, M. A., Crews, L. A., Bron, A. J., et al. (2012). Distribution of Aqueous-Deficient and Evaporative Dry Eye in a Clinic-Based Patient Cohort. Cornea, 31(5), 472-478. doi:10.1097/ico.0b013e318225415a

6. Nichols, K. K. (2014). The Ocular Surface and Successful Contact Lens Wear (Rep.).

7. Trattler, W.B. et al. ASCRS 2011 (Rep.).

8. Arita et al. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Contact Lens Discomfort. Eye & Contact Lens. Volume 43, Number 1, January 2017.

9. Market Scope 2016 Dry Eye Report

10. Tomlinson A, Bron AJ, Korb DR, et al. The international workshop on meibomian gland dysfunction: report of the diagnosis subcommittee. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Mar 30;52(4):2006-49

11. Blackie CA, Coleman CA, Holland EJ. The sustained effect (12 months) of a single-dose vectored thermal pulsation procedure for meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye. Clin Ophthal. 2016;10:1385-1396.