Meibomian Gland Probing
The Meibomian Gland has been hidden from the sight of patients and doctors alike for too long.
When I was a resident at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in 2000, one of our attendings wound not infrequently come to the Emergency Room often at odd hours asking us to take a 30G needle and unplug his meibomian glands. We all thought this was odd since no one else asked us this. He said that he would often get pain in his eyes and he found that if he just popped open the top, he would get relief. Sure enough he always did.
Now enter the age of the Meibomian Gland.
All eye surgeons see hundreds of patients each year who are suffering from severe dry eyes. The vast majority of times it is due to a permanently scarred meibomian gland.
If such patients had been told their meibomian glands were starting to scar (if eyeMDs knew this was a concern), these patients could have prevented the agony of years and years of feeling pain with every eye blink.
Recent quality of life studies have equated severe dry eye with the disability from a significant heart attack with good reason: feeling pain at every blink is truly tragic.
Many patients with scarring and scarred meibomian glands are now getting some relief with Meibomian Gland Probing, Intense Pulse Light (IPL), and sometimes Lipiflow.
If the glands are very scarred, I recommend starting with Meibomian Gland Probing as this is most likely going to give faster relief and provide the encouragement a patient needs to continue the drudgery of warm compresses and baby shampoo scrubs (or over the counter foam).
If most of the glands are open, I usually will recommend IPL or Lipiflow first.
We have had some very happy patients with Meibomian Gland Probing.
Below is more information provided by Dr. Maskin and a video.
I hope this procedure will help patients reverse years of scarring and help their meibomian glands work normally again.
Intraductal Meibomian Gland Probes