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Meibomitis and Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, etc.

Image showing clogged meibomian glands.  
Clogged meibomian glands contribute to dry eye and are a contraindication for Lasik.  

Meibomitis, also known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, is a potential contraindication for all cornea based refractive surgery procedures, especially Lasik and Bladeless Lasik, but a patient with meibomitis may be an appropriate refractive surgery candidate if the problem is manageable and treated.

Cause and Symptoms

Dysfunction of these glands causes tears to evaporate more rapidly and leads to symptoms of dryness, burning, and irritation. There is a natural bacteria that thrives on the corneal surface. These bacteria can colonize the meibomian glands and cause problems.

The number one reason the glands dysfunction is because they get clogged up. The reason they get clogged up is usually due to hormonal changes - changes in estrogen levels can cause a thickening of the oils. It has been suggested that changes in estrogen levels also cause a proliferation of the staphylococcal bacteria that inhabit the eyes and these bacteria invade the meibomian glands and thrive there. The double trouble caused by the thickening of the oils plus the bacteria gradually decrease the secretion of oils from the glands. Oral and topical antibiotics are often prescribed.

You can keep the gland oils from solidifying by using warm compresses as they help to melt the lipid "plug".


Punctal occlusion can provide some relief from the symptoms of dry eye, however this may not be the best response for meibomitis. Using temporary plugs may show if occlusion will help. If the temporary plugs do not provide any relief, then this is a good indication that the permanent plugs will not work. If the temporary plugs provide any relief at all, then permanent plugs make sense.
The medication Restasis is the anti-inflammatory cyclosporine in an ophthalmic eye drop that may be helpful for meibomian gland dysfunction and related dry eye. Discuss Restasis with your doctor.

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

Recent Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Medical Journal Articles...

Related Articles

Oral Azithromycin for the Treatment of Meibomitis.

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013 Nov 7;

Authors: Greene JB, Jeng BH, Fintelmann RE, Margolis TP

PMID: 24201556 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


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