Ophthalmology Procedures

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) Treatment in Chicago, IL

The Kraff Eye Institute, in Chicago,  is here to diagnose and treat meibomian gland dysfunction offering relief to our patients who suffer from dry eyes.

What Are Meibomian Glands?


Meibomian glands are the tiny oil glands that line the margin of the eyelids. These glands secrete oils that coat the surface of the eyes and keep the water component of our tears from evaporating and drying out. Together, the water and meibomian oil make up our tear film.

The tear film keeps our eyes lubricated, and the surface of the eyes healthy. The tear film can affect how we see, if the water or oil in the tear film decreases or is of poor quality, you can experience redness and irritation and even blurred and distorted vision.

What Is the MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction)?

mgd eye

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or MGD, occurs when the meibomian glands either do not secrete enough oil or, when the oils they do secrete are of poor quality. Often, the glands are not secreting enough oil because of a meibomian gland blockage. The opening of the gland can get clogged, resulting in less oil coming out of the gland. The oil that does make it out of the glands can be granular and crusty, causing irritation and redness of the eyes. MGD is very common, many people are asymptomatic, but when left untreated MGD can cause very dry eyes and inflamed eyelids.

What Are the Most Common MGD Symptoms And How Is It Diagnosed?

 Common MGD symptoms include:

  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Watering
  • Crusty discharge
  • Blurry Vision
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Styes

An MGD diagnosis will be determined through a comprehensive eye exam. Your doctor will apply pressure to your eyelids to observe the secretion of oil from the meibomian glands. Your doctor will also observe the quality, quantity, and stability of your tear film. A tear breakup time test may be recommended. This test involves placing a drop of dye on the eye to be absorbed by the tear film. The doctor will then examine your eye with a blue light, causing the tears to glow. If your tear film is of poor quality, it will be evident through this test.

Types Of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Treatment

There are several treatments for MGD, your doctor will recommend the best treatment for MGD based on several factors including the severity of the condition.

LipiFlow for MGD

LipiFlow treatment is used to open the meibomian glands to improve natural production of the meibomian oils. LipiFlow has been a transformative treatment for MGD and dry eyes.

Intensive Pulsed Light (IPL)

IPL uses a special light that causes the blood vessels in the eyes to open for light absorption, coagulate, then close. This process decreases inflammation and bacterial overgrowth. Four treatments are typically recommended.

Blephex For MGD

Blephex involves a hand-held device that gently exfoliates the eyelid margins to eliminate any bacteria and debris, allowing the meibomian glands to open.

MGD Lid Debridement

Lid debridement can be used to clean the keratin and other debris from the eyelid margins, opening the meibomian glands. This is performed with a specialized hand-held device.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Steroid Eye Drops

Sometimes steroid eye drops are prescribed, often in combination with medicated eye drops, to treat MGD. These drops reduce inflammation, improving the tear film.

MGD Restasis Eye Drops

Restasis eye drops are prescribed when dry eye symptoms are severe, or over the counter solutions are not strong enough. This prescription medication can increase the production of tears.

Omega-3 Supplements

Omega-3 supplements can reduce the risk of meibomian gland dysfunction. The fatty acids help to decrease inflammation, and reduce the development of debris within the meibomian glands.

Schedule Your Chicago MGD Treatment Appointment

To schedule an appointment to find out the best treatment for MGD, call the Kraff Eye Institute at

312-757-7335Schedule Consultation
Vision Solutions

Common Causes Of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

clogged eye glands

There are several meibomian gland dysfunction causes. Here is a look at some of the most common:

  • Age: As we age, the number of meibomian glands goes down.
  • Ethnicity: Asian people are 3 times more likely to develop MGD than people of European ethnicity. 
  • Contact Lenses: Wearing contact lenses makes you more likely to get MGD.
  • Medical Issues: high cholesterol, allergic conjunctivitis, inflamed eyelids, autoimmune diseases like lupus,  and rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Medications:  Estrogen replacement, and  retinoids for acne and anti-aging creams.

How Is MDG Related To Demodex Mites?

Demodex are microscopic mites that live in the meibomian glands, and eyelashes. These mites come out during the night to eat the skin cells of the eyelids, and lay eggs and expel waste products in the eyelid glands, and eyelash follicles. Demodex miles can cause problems when they increase in number and cause an infestation. This results in severe inflammation and overall damage to the meibomian glands and eyelashes. Demodex mites can cause MGD, blepharitis, dry eyes, styes, and ocular rosacea.

Symptoms of demodex mite infestation, can include:

  • dry eyes
  • redness
  • tearing
  • flakey eyelashes
  • burning and stinging
  • eyelid irritation
  • foreign body sensation
  • light sensitivity
  • loss of lashes
  • eye and eyelid infections
  • intermittent blurred vision
  • brittle lashes
  • misdirected eyelashes

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction And Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a very common ocular condition caused by an inflammation of the eyelids, as a result of a blockage in the meibomian glands at the edge of the eyelashes. When the meibomian glands do not produce enough oil, or produce oils of poor quality, bacteria can begin to grow, resulting in a bacterial infection. Symptoms of blepharitis, include:

  • redness
  • dry eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • burning sensation
  • swelling of the lids
  • oily eyelids
  • light sensitivity
  • excessive tears
  • foreign body sensation
  • discharge
  • crusting of the lashes

Blepharitis due to meibomian gland dysfunction can cause redness of the eyelids, blockage of the oil glands in the eyelids, and poor tear quality.



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LASIK Cost in Chicago

How Much Does Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Treatment Cost In Chicago?

The cost of  treatment for Meibomian gland dysfunction will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the  treatment your doctor recommends.

MGD Treatment Financial Options

The Kraff Eye Institute is a proud partner of CareCredit, America's top patient payment program. CareCredit allows you to start your vision care procedure immediately, then pay for it at your convenience.

About Our Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Doctors

With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Colman Kraff is committed to providing his patients the safest, most effective treatment options available.

Schedule Your Illinois MGD Treatment Consultation Today!

To schedule an appointment with the dedicated doctors of the Kraff Eye Institute, call our office at 312-757-7335.

Schedule Consultation

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction FAQ

What are the possible MGD complications?

Expand F.A.Q.

MGD is a frequent cause of dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease. MGD can lead to blepharitis and eyelid inflammation. There can be a lot of overlap among these conditions, and it's not uncommon to have all 3 at once. Experts aren’t entirely sure which condition develops first, or how exactly they are connected. MGD can cause inflammation that leads to dry eyes, or the reverse could be possible; the dry eyes can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction. If you are scheduled to have eye surgery or an eyelid procedure, MGD can increase the risk of infection. If Meibomian Gland Disease becomes advanced, it can lead to corneal disease.

How can I ease the MGD symptoms at home?

Expand F.A.Q.

In the early stages of meibomian gland dysfunction, home care might be all you require. Using a warm, wet washcloth or heat pack over the eyelids for 5 minutes, several times a day, can help to loosen the blocked oils in the glands. Massaging the eyelids after applying the warm compresses will act to further loosen any blockage in the meibomian glands. Good eyelid hygiene also helps to prevent MGD. This includes cleansing the lids and lashes with a non-soap cleanser twice a day, baby shampoo works well. Using a humidifier during drier months also can alleviate MGD symptoms. If you use contact lenses, it's best to use water gradient type lenses. Always avoid the eye area when using cosmetic products with retinoids. Ask your doctor about taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, their anti-inflammatory properties can boost the quality of the meibomian gland secretions.

What are the meibomian gland dysfunction risk factors?

Expand F.A.Q.

There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing meibomian gland dysfunction. Aging increases your risk of dry eyes and MGD. Adults over the age of 63 are 59% more likely to develop at least one symptom of MGD. Your ethnic background can also play a role in whether you might develop meibomian gland dysfunction. Research has shown up to 69% of the Asian population have meibomian gland dysfunction. Wearing eye make-up can contribute to the development of MGD. Eyeliner and other make-up products can clog the openings of the meibomian glands. This can be exasperated if you don't thoroughly clean your eyelids and remove all your make-up before going to sleep. Wearing contact can aggravate MGD. Contact lens use is associated with changes in the meibomian glands, and these changes can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction.