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LipiFlow and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Many individuals who suffer from dry eyes may have Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).  MGD is thought to be the leading cause of dry eye disease.  While MGD cannot be cured, most cases can be controlled with treatment and lifestyle changes.  At Pacific Eye Associates, our physicians have helped many dry eye sufferers find relief.  Drs. Danny Lin, Karen Oxford, and Emily Charlson are all experts in treating MGD by offering a treatment called LipiFlow. 

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What are Meibomian glands?  

Meibomian glands are tiny glands which line the margin of the eyelids.  These glands secrete oil which coats the surface of the eyes and keeps the water component of the tears from evaporating.  Together, the water and oil layer make up the tear film. The tear film lubricates and keeps the surface of our eyes healthy.

In a healthy eye, pressure from a blink produces a small amount of oil from each meibomian gland.  The oil is then distributed over the eyes to prevent your tears from evaporating.  In order for your eye to function properly, your meibomian and tear glands work together to keep your eyes lubricated.  The action of a blink is how our meibomian glands produce these healthy oils. 

What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian gland dysfunction occurs when the tiny glands on the eyelids, both top, and bottom, are not secreting enough oil.  Oftentimes, these oil gland openings become clogged so less or no oil comes out. If our glands are left untreated, they will reduce oil production and eventually dry out.  Once a gland has atrophied completely, the function is permanently lost.


LipiFlow is a drug-free approach that helps revitalizes your blocked glands. It’s a 12-minute in-office procedure that is FDA approved. LipiFlow is a treatment that works in 89% of dry eye patients who are affected by MGD.

Activators are single-use sterile devices that safely and comfortably deliver a combination of heat to the inner lids and simultaneous therapeutic motion to the outer lids, removing blockages from the Meibomian glands. The Activators are contoured to avoid contact with the cornea, protecting the delicate structures of the eye.

Once the gland blockages are removed, the glands can resume normal oil or lipid production.  This oil is essential for a healthy tear film, providing stable vision and ocular comfort. As normal gland function recovers, maximum results are usually experienced 6-8 weeks after treatment.

 If your eyes are dry, you may be a candidate for LipiFlow. Schedule an appointment with us today to gain comfort!

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2100 Webster St, San Francisco, CA 94115