What your patient might ask you…

Can you make my meibomian glands grow?

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, you can.

How exactly?
By doing a procedure called meibomian gland probing (MGP). This involves inserting a stainless steel sterile probe (aka the “maskin probe” named after it’s inventor, Steven Maskin, MD) into each meibomian gland opening. Video of the procedure here.

Tell me about the study.
The study reviewed the charts of 28 patients (50 lids were included in the study) with obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction who had all undergone the MGP procedure. They examined the pre-MGP meibographies and compared them to the post-MGP meibographies.

What did they find?
Between the 4.5-12 month follow up, meibomian gland growth was seen in over 40% of these patients. What does that look like?  Here is one of the before and after meibographies.

Why do these glands need to be probed?
The theory is there is obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction, obstructive being the key word. The gland is obstructed by fibrous tissue that either overlies the gland opening or is deeper within the gland preventing meibum from being expressed.

Is MGP a permanent fix? 
No, the authors state they usually need reprobing on an annual basis.

The take home:
This study found that MGP may allow for and perhaps promote meibomian gland regeneration.

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