Meibomian glands are a special type of sebacious/oil gland located within your eyelids. These glands produce oils that help stabilize the tear film to prevent tears from evaporating from the surface of the eye. A human being has an average of 25 meibomian glands in the lower lid and 50 meibomian glands in the upper lid.
When you blink, the meibomian glands compress and meibum (oil) expresses out of the gland openings, coating the tear film. Without oil, the tear film will evaporate, causing the symptoms of dry eye. Fully closing the eye during blinks pushes meibum out of the glands.
When you do not fully blink, your meibum begins to thicken. As the meibum hardens, the gland is unable to express oil as easily. This causes the glands to become blocked. Blocked gland openings causes oil to become backed up, resulting in distortion, gland shortening, and ultimately degeneration of the glands.
Meibomian glands do not regenerate; therefore, once the glands have been self-destructed, they will no longer produce oil.
How can we halt the progression of shortened and blocked meibomian glands? Continue reading to learn more about the latest in treatment options!