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Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: The Past, Present, and Future

Foulks, Gary N. M.D.; Borchman, Douglas Ph.D.

Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice: September 2010 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 249-253
doi: 10.1097/ICL.0b013e3181ef0d37
Review Article

Objective: To recount the historic evaluation of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and describe new techniques to monitor disease and therapy.

Methods: A review of the literature regarding the description of MGD and the role of abnormalities of meibomian gland secretion in health and disease.

Results: Meibomian gland dysfunction is a common clinical condition and is a major cause of evaporative dry eye with associated discomfort, visual disturbance, and contact lens intolerance. Despite the early description of the anatomy and physiology of the meibomian gland, recognition of the importance of the MGD and particularly therapeutic options to treat it has been limited.

Conclusions: Improved methods of spectroscopic and chemical analysis of the meibomian gland secretion in health and disease are providing a better understanding of the physical and chemical abnormalities of the meibomian gland secretions and are allowing better evaluation of medical therapies.

From the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (G.N.F.), University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY; Louisville Veterans Administration Medical Center (G.N.F.), Louisville, KY; and Department of Surgery (D.B.), University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.

Supported by Public Health Service research grant EY017094-01, the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, and Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.

Much of this material is the result of work supported with resources and use of the facilities at the Louisville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Louisville, KY. Dr Foulks is a member of the part-time staff of the Surgical Service, Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Louisville, KY.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Gary N. Foulks, M.D., Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, 301 E Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Louisville, KY 40202; e-mail:

Accepted June 27, 2010.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.