What is the best diet to reduce Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

What is the best diet to reduce Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a recurrent issue as the meibomian glands are found at the edges of the upper and lower eyelids.


The glands produce meibum, an oily secretion rich in lipids that helps with tears evaporation, and if they get clogged or produce low-quality oil, there is a problem.


It is essential to know what causes MGD, its symptoms and treatment options, and how HOCL has proved to be a perfect remedy.


Here we go…

Is Meibomian gland dysfunction serious?

The eyelids primarily protect the eyes from injuries and provide a moist environment for the effective functioning of the cornea and conjunctiva.


Muscles in the eyelids enable them to freely open and close, with the inner lid lined with mucous membrane and the outer eyelashes.


Meibomian glands are small oil glands that line eyelid margins and secrete oil that covers the eyelid surfaces keeping the water component of tears from evaporating, making up the tear film.


The tear film ensures the surface of the eyes is lubricated and healthy with three functional layers:

  • The oil layer prevents the water layer from evaporating
  • The water layer that keeps the eye sustained
  • Mucus layer that covers the entire surface of the eye with tears


Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) refers to the condition where the glands fail to secrete enough oil, and if they do, it is of poor quality.


The oil glands get blocked, and less oil comes out that can't maintain a healthy tear film.


MGD is a common lid margin issue and a leading cause of dry eye, and if left untreated, it can damage the eye permanently.


It can occur as a single problem but is often associated with diseases such as anterior and posterior blepharitis or seborrheic dermatitis.


When MGD develops into a chronic problem, and clogged glands become unable to secrete oil with time,  permanent damage in the tear film and dry eye syndrome is inevitable.

Symptoms of MGD

The first early sign of a blockage in the oil glands of the eyelids is dry eye, but there are many other symptoms, including:

  • Crusty or sticky discharge
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching and burning
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red eyes
  • Chalazion or styles
  • Dryness
  • Foreign body sensation

What causes meibomian gland dysfunction?

MGD can affect anyone, but some people are more prone than others. Its potential causes are:



Females are more likely to develop MGD, particularly those over 50 years. Some meibomian gland cells wither, resulting in decreased lipid production.


Also, there is an increased cell inflammation rate around the glands and reduced cell renewal and meibomian gland size.


Environmental Stress

An arid climate can change the medium's ratio of proteins to lipids and cause other alterations.


Functioning medium numbers may be depleted over time, and the medium thickness can increase, hindering stability and resulting in MGD symptoms.


Hormonal Changes

Androgen and oestrogen hormones are present in the meibomian glands. Androgen helps increase meibum secretion while reducing inflammation.


On the other hand, oestrogen increases inflammation. People with low androgen levels are at higher risk of developing MGD.



Ingredients and creams on the eyelids can be detrimental and toxic to meibomian glands.


They may also lead to meibomian atrophy when used daily.


Medication Usage

Some medications can affect meibomian gland processes and impact the quality of the oil produced, such as:

  • Topical epinephrine that results in dilation and gland blockage
  • Topical glaucoma medications like prostaglandin analogs, beta-blockers, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
  • Acne medication Accutane (isotretinoin) causes meibomian gland atrophy.

How long does it take to unclog Meibomian glands?

There are many treatment options to help remedy clogged meibomian glands.


LipiFlow, MiBo Thermaflow, Intense pulsed light (IPL), KCL1100, and Pulsation System are revolutionised treatments that unblock meibomian glands.


They help liquefaction of meibum and increase the natural production of lipids or oil, reducing tears evaporation.


Others include:

iLux is a device that unplugs and warms meibomian glands by unclogging blockages and stimulating the release of oil. This treatment lasts for 8-12 minutes. 


TearCare applies heating patches connected to a hand-held heat device to the outer eyelids. The machine melts the waxy secretions build up and unclogs the meibomian glands.


Blephex also involves using a hand-held device to exfoliate eyelid margins carefully, clear bacterial dirt, and unclogs meibomian glands to improve eyelid health.

Can you cure Meibomian gland dysfunction?

Diagnosis of MGD

Several diagnostic tests have been proposed with recently improved ways of detecting and diagnosing MGD symptoms.


They are based on looking into altered anatomical features like gland dropout, quantitative and qualitative meibum changes, and pathological events causing MGD and terminal duct obstruction.


Precise diagnosis is based on a standardised examination and grading system of eyelids using a slit-lamp exam.


The doctor may apply pressure to the patient's eyelid to see the secretions while evaluating the tears' quantity, stability, and quality.


To determine the stability of a patient's tear film, doctors may recommend a standard painless procedure called the tear breakup time test (TBUT).


A drop of dye is placed at the eye's front surface for absorption by the tear film and examined using a blue light that makes the tears glow.


The tears will ultimately break up quickly if the tear film has decreased instability, evidence of meibomian gland dysfunction.

Treatment of MGD

The eyelid skin is very delicate and needs extra careful handling when administering treatments.


MGD is chronic and needs daily treatments your doctor will likely discuss, including eyelid and eyelash hygiene that helps clear bacteria, dead skin, and oil build-up.


Meibomian gland dysfunction is classified differently in stages depending on the severity of symptoms, secretion quality, corneal staining, and expressibility.


The following are some treatment options for MGD :

Eye Drops

People who suffer from this condition need special and particular eye drops to alleviate MGD symptoms associated with lipid function.


Preservatives-free eye drops are preferable. Our Pristine HOCL spray will come in handy as it is all-natural.

Warm Compresses

Compresses work to stimulate oil production and melt the oil that had previously solidified in the glands while softening lash debris and providing comfort.


Use a warm (not too hot) cotton pad or face cloth to apply heat under the eyelid margin for five minutes or more, depending on severity, to allow oil to flow more freely. 


For active symptoms, repeat the procedure twice a day and once a day as they clear up to maintain eye health and prevent the glands from clogging again.


A simpler way of compressing is using 'heat bags' designed explicitly for eyelids as they easily direct heat and are more effective.


It is essential to confirm with an optometrist for advice.


Over massaging the eyelids can cause complications and irritations, so ensure to be gentle.


Massages can be done after applying a warm compress and putting light pressure using fingertips to the lid's margin above your eyelashes.


While looking down, roll the fingertip carefully on the upper eyelid and vice versa.


Alternatively, you can pinch the lower eyelids between your fore-fingers and thumb as you express the meibomian glands.

Lid Scrubs

Use a Q-tip, or put a warm washcloth on your fingertips and gently scrub along the lid margin on the top and bottom eyelids.


This helps stimulate the oil glands while removing debris, bacteria, and oil that cause blockages.


Mild soap such as Cetaphil, dilute baby shampoo, CeraVe, or pre-moistened wipes containing unique ingredients to clear bacteria, dirt, and oil may also be used as they won't irritate the eyes.

Steroid or antibiotic ointments

These ointments can be applied on the eyelids or eye corners to help relieve acute MGD fare-ups and are used for short periods.


Topical lubricants can be recommended to reduce tear film evaporation, alleviate symptoms, and stabilise lipids in the tear film.


Doctors can prescribe steroids or Restasis (for severe symptoms) eye drops in conjunction with medicated eye drops to tone down inflammation and increase tear flow.

Additionally, special goggles with heated pads can be worn while sleeping to open up clogged glands.

Can diet help with MGD?

What we eat and simple lifestyle changes significantly influence the quality of meibum produced by the body.


Incorporating the following in your diet can be of benefit to people suffering from MGD:


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These acids improve the consistency and quality of oil produced by meibomian glands, reducing the risks of MGD.


Also, the acids reduce inflammation and debris build-up in the eyelids or on the eyes' surface and help keep the tears from drying up quickly.


Flaxseed, fish, borage, and oil are rich in omega- 3 fatty acids and are excellent supplements.


Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Mackerel and Tuna (fresh, not canned)
  • Soybeans
  • Sardines and salmon
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Anchovies and herring
  • Nuts and seeds



This mineral is essential for getting vitamin A from the liver to the retina to form a pigment that protects the eyes called melanin.


The body makes Zinc naturally, but a food boost is also vital. Its source is:

  • Oysters and salmon
  • Beef and eggs
  • Fortified cereals
  • Lobster and pork
  • Yoghourt and milk


Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These antioxidants help keep eye cells healthy and properly working and reduce the chances of chronic eye diseases.


Leafy greens, veggies (like spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli), corn, and eggs are excellent sources of the two antioxidants.


Vitamin E

It is a powerful antioxidant that works to shield the cells in the eyes from damage and boost the body's immune system.


Its sources include:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peanut butter
  • Wheat cereal (wheat germ)
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts


Vitamin C

Also, an antioxidant, vitamin C is important for blood vessels in the eyes helps prevent cataracts, and improves overall eye health.


Familiar sources of vitamin C include:

  • Cooked spinach
  • Tomatoes and bananas
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Apples and oranges

How do I keep my meibomian gland healthy?

Regular washing of the teeth, body, and face is frequent for humans and is part of daily hygiene routines.


The eyelids may seem small and insignificant, but they are essential and must be kept clean as proper hygienic care ensures meibomian gland health and lower risks of MGD.


Below are a few ways to go about it:

  • Blink regularly by squeezing your eyes shut and gradually relaxing the squeeze with your eyes closed. Repeat 3-4 times daily for better results.
  • Using medicated lid wipes or moistened cotton swabs with saline, petroleum jelly, or mineral oil, pull the upper part of your lid away from the eye and gently scrub the exposed meibomian gland and vice versa.
  • Avoid using makeup during flare-ups, especially eyeliners and mascara, as they harbour bacteria.
  • Book appointments with your doctor for regular eye checkups of your meibomian gland to ensure they are in perfect health.

How our Pristine eyelid spray with HOCl can help

Hypochlorous acid (HOCL) is naturally created by white blood cells in the body to defend it against pathogens, bacteria, and irritations.


HOCL is entirely non-toxic to humans and can be used as a disinfectant. It retains beneficial bacteria to maintain the skin's microbiome balance when used.


Our Pristine HOCL spray has natural properties that help in soothing dry eyes, reduce itchiness, alleviate irritations and cleanse eyelid and eyelash debris.


Additionally, it is preservative, alcohol, and fragrance-free for better eye healthcare.


Spray it directly on your firmly closed eyelids as it is safe and non-scented with benefits


Final thoughts

Meibomian glands are essential for maintaining a healthy ocular surface, while MGD is any functional abnormality of these glands.


If there is a disruption in the quantity and quality of meibum produced on the ocular surface, increased inflammation and tear evaporation will be seen.


These conditions can worsen, and the gland can stop working entirely if left untreated, so contact a doctor immediately at the first signs.