Topic To discuss the pathology, causes, and ocular surface impact of meibomian gland disease (MGD), as well as its relationship to dry eye. Clinical Relevance MGD is a common disorder with various contributing mechanisms and clinical manifestations. Understanding MGD pathophysiology and its relationship to dry eye is important in order to optimize diagnosis and treatment algorithms. Methods A review of current literature was performed to discern MGD in terms of pathophysiology, risk factors, and ocular surface impact, and the relationship to dry eye. Results Meibomian gland obstruction and meibocyte depletion are important components of MGD. Many pathologies can disrupt function of meibomian glands, ranging from congenital to acquired causes. Once gland disruption occurs, the quality and quantity of meibum is altered, with a negative impact on the ocular surface. Increased tear evaporation, tear hyperosmolarity, increased ocular surface staining, increased inflammation, symptomatic irritation of the eyelid and globes, as well as decreased visual acuity have all been observed. Conclusion MGD leads to changes in meibum quality and quantity that can cause evaporative dry eye and ocular surface disruption, leading to dry eye symptoms in some individuals.
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