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What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a common eye condition, yet many people don’t realize they have it. MGD is a blockage, or other abnormality, of the meibomian glands (the tiny glands along your eyelids) so that they don’t secrete enough healthy oil into tears. [1]

The function of the meibomian (“my-BOH-mee-an”) glands is to secrete an oil called meibum (“my-BUM”) onto the surface of the eye. These oils help keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. Meibum, water, and mucus form the three layers of tear film that keep your eyes moist.[1]

Changes in the amount or quality of the oil, or to the glands themselves, can lead to MGD. It’s often the result of a combination of things. The most common type, obstructive MGD, happens when the gland openings get clogged and less and less oil reaches the eye surface. [1]

MGD is also a leading cause of dry eye and is associated with an eyelid problem called blepharitis.

Managing MGD

MGD is best handled when treated early and should include patient education. Your eye care professional might recommend warm compresses  with a lid massage, eyelid cleaners to help decrease inflammation around the eyes, and gland expression. [2]

Warm Compress

Treatment considerations for beginning stages include lid warming and lid expression. Massage of the eyelids and warm compress therapy has been shown to improve patient symptoms. [2]


Your eye care professional might recommend prescription eye drops or ointments, warm compresses and lid massage, or eyelid cleaners to help decrease inflammation around the surface of the eyes. [3][4]

Ocular Surface Management

As patients become more symptomatic and as the ocular surface becomes more affected, employing additional therapeutic management is recommended and may include oral omega-3 essential fatty acids, topical azithromycin, oral tetracycline, and topical anti-inflammatories  to improve clinical signs and patient comfort. [2]

Lid margin debridement (gland expression) and MG probing

Consult your eye care professional. [2]

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye disease (DED) affects hundreds of millions of people throughout the world and is one of the most frequent causes of patient visits to eye care practitioners. It is a symptomatic disease, characterized by a vicious cycle of tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, which leads to increased ocular surface inflammation, damage, and neurosensory abnormalities. Moderate to severe DED is associated with significant pain, limitations in performing daily activities, reduced vitality, poor general health, and often depression. [4]



  • Inadequate number of tears. Tears are produced by several glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production tends to diminish with age, with various medical conditions or as a side effect of certain medicines. Environmental conditions, such as wind and dry climates, can also decrease tear volume due to increased tear evaporation. When the normal amount of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes, symptoms of dry eye can develop. [3]
  • Poor quality of tears. Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. Each component protects and nourishes the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucus layer spreads the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop. [3]
Managing Dry Eye Symptoms:

Adding tears

Mild cases of dry eye can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions are recommended because they contain fewer additives, which can further irritate the eyes.  [3][4]

Increasing tear production

Your eye care professional can prescribe eye drops that increase tear production. Taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement may also help. [3][4]

Treating the contributing eyelid or ocular surface inflammation

Your eye care professional might recommend prescription eye drops or ointments, warm compresses and lid massage, or eyelid cleaners to help decrease inflammation around the surface of the eyes. [3][4]


You can take the following steps to reduce symptoms of dry eye: Remember to blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for long periods of time; wear sunglasses outdoors, particularly those with wraparound frames to reduce exposure to drying winds and the sun; avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water (8 to 10 glasses) each day; and nutritional supplements containing essential fatty acids and antioxidants may help decrease dry eye symptoms in some people. Ask your eye care professional if taking dietary supplements could help your dry eye symptoms. [3][4]

Meeting your Individual Needs

Zenoptiq offers Hypochlorous acid in two options: 0.01% HOCl Spray in a 100 mL bottle, and 0.0085% HOCl Gel in a 60 mL bottle, which makes it safe and effective for long-term use.

[1] Hellem, A. (n.d.). Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD): The Cause of Your Dry Eyes. Retrieved from 

[2] Opitz, D. L., Harthan, J. S., Fromstein, S. R., & Hauswirth, S. G. (2015, August 28). [Full text] Diagnosis and management of meibomian gland dysfunction: Optometrists& | OPTO. Retrieved from 

[3] Dry Eye. (n.d.). Retrieved from 

[4] DRY EYE REDEFINED: TFOS DEWS II REPORT. (n.d.). Retrieved from