This is a chronic inflammatory condition of the eyelid margins often associated with problems affecting the oil-secreting glands in the eyelids (Meibomian glands). This is sometimes also referred to as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD.


Thick oily plugs at upper lid Meibomian orifices / pores

In the early stages, patients are often asymptomatic, but if left untreated, MGD can cause or aggravate dry eye symptoms and eyelid inflammation. The oil glands become blocked with thickened secretions. Chronically clogged glands eventually become unable to secrete oil, which then result in permanent changes in the tear film and dry eyes.


Crusting on lashes ( also known as collarettes )


  • Dryness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Stickiness
  • Tearing
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Intermittent Blurry Vision
  • Red Eyes
  • Foreign Body Sensation
  • Chalazion/Styes


Eyelid hygiene

There are three main steps to eyelid hygiene that should be performed twice a day in the initial stages, and once a day as maintenance:

  • Warm compresses

    Use a clean warm washcloth to apply heat on the closed eyelids for five minutes. Heating the lids helps to melt the oil that has solidified in the glands. This essential step helps to make the use of lid scrubs more effective.

  • Gentle eyelid massage.Apply light pressure with a cotton bud to the lid margin near the lash line. Roll it upwards on the lower lid while looking up, and then roll it downwards on the upper lid while looking down.
  • Lid scrubs / wipes.This helps to remove oil, bacteria and debris. To make cleaning easier, look downwards when cleaning the upper lid margin, and look upwards when cleaning the lower lid margin.


Sometimes an antibiotic ointment may be prescribed to rub along the eyelid margins after the three-step lid hygiene regime, This is usually used only for a short period of time.

Dietary changes

There is increasing evidence that suggests a balanced diet high in omega-3 fats can help improve ocular surface health, Meibomian gland function and dry eye disease. This also has a wide range of purported health benefits, including reducing risk of heart disease, joint problems and macular degeneration.

Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines or fresh tuna. Oral omega-3 supplements are also effective.