Meibomitis is an infection or inflammation of the meibomian glands. Meibomian glands are glands inside of your eyelids which secrete one element of your tears. Tears actually come from several places and the meibomian glands are one of those places. It is very common for these glands to get stopped up or infected with bacteria and begin to cause problems. When this happens the lids become thickened and red. Patients often experience dry eyes as well as a foreign body sensation, matting of the lids upon awakening, itching, tearing and burning. Sometimes the eyes are just vaguely uncomfortable. Sometimes it can make your vision blurry.
I’m sorry to say there is no miracle cure for meibomitis. But there are things that you can do to keep it under control. The most important thing for you to do is soak your eyes with hot water with a washcloth or mask made for that purpose. The water should be very hot (but don’t burn yourself). Keep it on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. When the water starts to cool, put the washcloth in hot water again. The stuff that clogs up the meibomian glands is like wax. By heating them you sofen the wax. The next step, now that the stuff is melted, is to massage your lower lids with your finger. Gently roll your finger towards the lid edge to “milk” the softened stuff (called sebum) out of the glands. Finally, you need to simply clean up. There are commercially available pads that you can use.
Sometimes if the glands are infected and not just clogged, Dr. Mitnick will prescribe an antibiotic ointment or drop to apply to your lower lid margin (edge). Other times if the lids are very irritated he might prescribe a steroid ointment.
Dr. Mitnick will give you a schedule for doing the soaks and using the medications, but remember you need to keep doing it to feel better. You may find after you do it for a while that you can just do it once or twice a week but if you stop entirely your eyes will bother you again. It’s like brushing your teeth, if you stop you will have problems.