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meibomian glands

The Meibomian glands are found along the eyelid edge and are responsible for secreting an oily film that forms the outer layer of the tear film.

The Meibomian glands are very important for eye health, as they are responsible for lubricating the ocular surface and preventing the tear from evaporating early and reaching its final destination: the nostrils.

En Área Oftalmológica Avanzada We explain, then, what are the Meibomian glands and what are the diseases that can affect their functioning. 

What are the Meibomian glands?

Meibomian glands are sebaceous structures that are located along the eyelid edge and secrete an oily or fatty substance that constitutes the main ingredient of the outer layer, or lipid, of the tear film.

This layer is responsible for not tearing the tear film prematurely.

Thanks to the secretion of fats made by the Meibomian glands, the tear does not evaporate so quickly on the surface of the eye and can fulfill its function of moisturizing, nourishing, oxygenate and especially lubricating the surface of the eyeball.

The lipid property of the tear film created by the Meibomian glands is essential so that, when we blink, the Eyelids do not scratch the surface of the eye and, consequently, avoid noticing the gritty sensation that is so common in patients who suffer Dry Eye.

Additionally, the secretion of the Meibomian glands allows the tear to travel correctly to the nasolacrimal duct to be eliminated through the nostrils. 

Meibomian gland diseases

The Meibomian glands are responsible for giving the tear film its oily and fatty component.

The malfunction or clogging of these structures affects the quality and composition of the tear causing various problems in visual health. 

Next we will know which ones with the diseases of the Meibomian glands and how they affect eye health: 


La Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelid margin caused by the accumulation of bacteria and sebaceous secretion at the base of the tabs.

Lipid secretions are produced by the Meibomian glands, however, the obstruction of some of these glands creates an environment conducive to the proliferation of bacteria or mites such as the demodex, which ends up triggering a Blepharitis.

Dry Eye

El Dry eye syndrome It is a chronic pathology and affects a large part of the world's population.

Dry eyes are caused by a deficiency in tear production or poor quality. Many times dry eye is caused due to the absence or deficiency of the lipid layer produced by the Meibomian glands for the tear film. 

Sjogren's syndrome

It is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks the glands that produce tear and saliva.

As a consequence, those who suffer Sjogren's syndrome have dry eyes, mouth and nose. This disease mainly affects women from the age of 40.

How to activate the Meibomian glands

The malfunction of the Meibomian glands is an eye problem that triggers a series of annoying symptoms such as a foreign body sensation in the eye, itching, irritation, discomfort when blinking, sensitivity to light, ocular pain and gritty sensation in the eyes. 

Is it possible to improve these symptoms?

Currently, there are several alternatives to activate the Meibomian glands with the aim of stimulating lipid production that returns quality to the tear film.

Among the main treatments to activate the meibomian glands we have:


La radiofrequency It is a treatment that provides heat to the eyelids to liquefy and uncover the clogged Meibomian glands.

Pulsed light

A very novel treatment with extraordinary results is to apply Pulsed light IPL on the glands.

Among this technology stands out Thermaeye Plus, which offers to stimulate the sebaceous production of these tears through the polychromatic pulsed light with the aim of returning normality to the tear composition.

The treatment is painless, non-invasive and does not pose a risk to the eyeball.

Video of Thermaeye treatment for Dry Eye.


Another alternative is the use of Blephex technology.

This is used in order to clean the free palpebral edge using a small disposable "burr" connected to a rotor.

When turning and applied to the eyelids, clean the cap formed in the meibomian glands, leaving this way free so that they can secrete the fats to the tear film.

Meibomian gland probing

When the patient presents severe dry eye Due to dysfunction of the Meibomian glands, we can perform a surgical treatment.

This consists in the operating room probing of the glands in order to uncover them so that they can secrete the fats towards the ocular surface.

Here we leave a video of the meibomian gland probing performed at our ophthalmological center, Área Oftalmológica Avanzada.

Do you need more information about the Meibomian glands and their interventions? Contact us in Área Oftalmológica Avanzada, We will solve your delighted doubts!

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Meibomian glands
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Meibomian glands
Meibomian glands play an important role for eye health. We tell you in detail what they are and their characteristics.
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Área Oftalmológica Avanzada
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