Management of meibomian gland dysfunction: a review

Surv Ophthalmol. 2020 Mar-Apr;65(2):205-217. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2019.08.007. Epub 2019 Sep 5.


Meibomian gland dysfunction is the leading cause of evaporative dry eye disease and is one of the most common conditions encountered by eye care providers. The disorder is characterized by obstruction of the meibomian gland terminal ducts and/or changes in their glandular secretion, resulting in changes in tear film stability, inflammation, and symptoms of irritation. There is no gold standard treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction, but rather a diversity of options. Conservative measures include warm compresses and lid hygiene, but there is growing interest and need for medical treatments and procedures. Potential medical treatments include antibiotics, nonsteroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, essential fatty acid supplementation, hormone therapy, and control of Demodex infestation. Procedures include intraductal meibomian gland probing, the use of electronic heating devices, intense pulsed light therapy, and intranasal neurostimulation. We provide an update on meibomian gland dysfunction treatments based on recent studies.

Keywords: blepharitis; dry eye disease; meibomian gland dysfunction; meibum; ocular surface disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Meibomian Glands / diagnostic imaging*
  • Meibomian Glands / metabolism
  • Tears / metabolism*