Clogged Oil Glands Cause 86% of Dry Eye Disease

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Clogged Oil Glands Cause 86% of Dry Eye Disease

Did you know clogged oil glands along your eyelashes are responsible for 86% of dry eye disease? Poor eyelid hygiene, bad nutrition, and activities that decrease your blink rate result in clogged meibomian glands. The technology era has contributed to the increase in dry eye in all ages. The eyelid margin consists of skin, meibomian gland openings and eyelashes.

These meibomian glands (oil glands) are located along the upper and lower eyelids. The openings run along the inside of the eyelash line. They can easily become blocked with debris from makeup and bacteria that collect in the lashes. The International Workshop on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction found that 86% of dry eye patients had meibomian gland dysfunction. Good quality tears require three layers: the mucus, aqueous (water), and lipid (oil) layer. The cause of gland dysfunction is inflammation. This inflammation can occur due to increased bacteria on the eyelids, allergies, or medical condition such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, and ocular rosacea. Visiting your eye doctor is important to identify if you suffer from blepharitis (lid inflammation) and what the underlying cause may be.

Photo of Seborrheic Blepharitis Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If you have debris along your eyelids in the morning when you wake up you could have blepharitis. The symptoms of blepharitis include redness, itching, lash loss, debris in eyelashes in the morning or throughout the day. In addition, there is Rosacea, a skin condition that commonly causes facial inflammation and redness of the cheeks, nose, and eyelid margin. This condition is chronic and requires medical treatment and monitoring. Another problem causing blepharitis is demodex, a lid mite that lives in the hair follicle. Cleaning of the lid margin, hair, eye brows, and pillow cases is required.

BlephEx Device

Typically BlephEx®, an in-office procedure, is performed to deep clean the lid margin. Finally, makeup is often used without proper removal. Many people are not aware of the expiration date on makeup. Infection from bacteria that grows in liquid and cream makeup can occur after 3 months. Also, without proper removal of mascara and eyeliner, bacteria can be trapped and glands can become blocked. The following steps should help you stay out of trouble. Always remove your makeup before going to bed. Never share makeup with anyone else and try not to use the testers in stores. Finally, when trying new makeup, introduce one thing at a time to ensure you are not allergic to it and if you are prone to allergies look for hypoallergenic makeup. Inflammation and closure of meibomian glands is the main cause for dry eye symptoms. The best treatment is prevention with daily cleansing of the lids. However, if that is not successful CarlinVision’s Dry Eye Service provides two in-office procedures. Both BlephEx and LipiFlow® can be done with no downtime and only takes a few minutes. BlephEx is a deep cleaning of the base of the lash line and LipiFlow is the opening of the oil glands with heat and massage. Please contact our Dry Eye Service Coordinator Allie for more information and to schedule an evaluation.

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