Meibomian Gland Probing vs IPL - Which is Better for MGD?
For those with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), finding the root cause may seem debilitating. There are so many things that can potentially contribute to this disease, although focusing on decreasing inflammation is key. In this article we're going to discuss two treatments for meibomian gland dysfunction and compare how they work individually and how they work together.
In a recent study of 45 enrollees (90 eyes) with meibomian gland dysfunction, patients were randomized into three categories. The first category were patients that had just meibomian gland probing done, the second had just IPL (intense pulsed light), and a third group had both procedures done.
The results were great and fall right in line with previous studies, but one group came out ahead of the others. All three groups and all patients improved with each therapy, but the group that had meibomian gland probing AND IPL yielded the best results in relieving signs and symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction and attaining long-lasting symptom relief.
Clinicians also saw significant improvement in patients' tear break-up time, corneal fluorescein staining, meibum grade (better oil production), better lid margin health, and an improvement in Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) score, which is a survey to asses dry eye symptoms in a patient.
If you have been following us for a while, you know that we love all non-medication driven intervention. The fact that both of these are a more natural way to find relief from meibomian gland dysfunction is a very positive sign, in our opinion.
With that being said, you still need to reduce overall systemic inflammation in your body and not solely rely on just methods like IPL, Meibomian Gland Probing, and Lipiflow to help you "cure" your dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction.
How do you decrease overall inflammation?
This all starts with what you eat. We have covered this extensively in other articles, but to summarize... Stop eating crap and start eating an organic, whole foods, plant-based alkalizing diet.
The food you eat should look like it did when it was growing out of the ground (plants) and what you eat should ALWAYS be organic. I hear you saying that you can't afford an organic diet, but I will rebuttal that statement by saying you cannot afford NOT to buy organic. Eating pesticides, fertilizers, and other insecticides is killing you slowly by causing an increase in disease and inflammation in your body, which leads to an increase in your medical bills and medications.
To learn more about diet and how it plays a role in your diet, get our free eBook, Rethinking Dry Eye Treatment, read it once all the way through, then implement one chapter per week until you have implemented the whole book. It's easier than you think!
On top of decreasing overall inflammation with diet and lifestyle changes like discussed above, we also recommend that you develop an amazing eyelid hygiene routine both morning and night to help decrease symptoms associated with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye.
Here is Dr. Jenna Zigler's eyelid and facial hygiene routine which she performs twice a day to decrease flare-ups and symptoms.
1. Wet your entire face and wash your face and eyelids with a tea tree oil soap, such as Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap, or use the Heyedrate Foaming Tea Tree Face Wash. Work it into a lather with your hands like you normally would with any soap. Then, massage it into your face. You can use this soap over tightly closed eyelids, although you want to make sure to rinse very well afterward, as tea tree essential oil can burn the eyes. Then, pat your face dry.
2. Cleanse the eyelids with a hypochlorous acid based eyelid cleanser. I use the Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser. You can use it a few ways, but I like to simply spray it onto my closed eyelids, rub it into my eyelash margin, and let it dry. Alternatively, you can use a cotton ball or round for application. This will not cause any problems if some gets into your eyes.
3. After that, I like to do my warm compress. I will microwave the mask for about 20 seconds and then test the temperature on the inside of my wrist to make sure it is not too hot. I then like to spray hypochlorous acid spray (Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser) on the side of the mask that rests on the eyes. I place the mask on and relax for the next 10-20 minutes, reheating half way through if necessary.
What About IPL, Meibomian Gland Probing, and Lipiflow?
This is a great question and this obviously depends on your doctor, your severity, and a ton of other factors, but we will give you some general recommendations on this. All of these are great treatments for meibomian gland dysfunction and more and more studies are showing promising results.
Here are our general recommendations (of course, consult your doctor for their advice, as they know your particular situation):
We recommend having Lipiflow at least once per year as it has shown promise in REVERSING meibomian gland atrophy. These studies are very early, but look promising. Plus the symptom relief and the technology behind Lipiflow just make sense when it comes to battling meibomian gland dysfunction. Lipiflow is a great tool for preventing MGD from worsening.
2. Meibomian Gland Probing
Meibomian Gland Probing should also be done one to two times per year depending on the severity of your meibomian gland dysfunction. Discuss with your doctor whether or not they perform this procedure, because not all do.
We also recommend having IPL once per year (or a series of it once per year). This is especially the case if you have Rosacea, Ocular Rosacea, or a lot of telangectasia of the eyelids (little blood vessels that are visible on the eyelid).