Meibomitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Differences and Complications

It is an inflammatory condition of the meibomian glands that is often seen in patients with acne or rosacea and is found along the margin of the eyelids.

The meibomian glands create and distribute an oily substance called lipids. Whenever the eye blinks, the oil produced will cover the layer of tears protecting it from evaporation.

When a patient is affected by inflammation, the oil produced is less in quantity and worse in quality, resulting in faster evaporation of the tear.

In addition, these oils stagnate and bacteria, usually staphylococci are colonized within Meibomian glands. In addition, these bacteria produce toxins that cause the lids to become red and inflamed.

The symptoms are different for each patient, but most of the time they are similar to common blepharitis .

Causes of Meibomitis

Meibomitis occurs because the meibomian glands do not function properly, which causes the common bacteria that already exist in the eye to multiply. The most common causes are the following:

  • Hormonal changes associated with adolescence.
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions such as acne or dryness on the scalp.
  • Drugs that activate the bacteria.
  • Eyeliner or eye mascara.
  • Eye solutions or contact lenses.
  • Poor hygiene of the eyes.
  • Malnourishment .


The symptoms may vary, but the most common are the following:

  • Margins of the red eyelid.
  • Eye watery or dry.
  • Itching inside and outside the eyelids, as well as in the surroundings.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Sensitivity to light (especially in the morning hours).

Treatments against meibomitis

The treatment is similar to that prescribed to cure blepharitis. This list below shows the most successful Meibomianitis treatments:

  • Warm therapy: clean, warm towels should be placed in the morning for 10 minutes on the eyelids to help the oil in the glands flow more easily.
  • Massage: rubbing or massaging the eyelids will help the oil to flow more easily, just after heat therapy.
  • Hygiene: there are many cleaning solutions for the margins of the eyelids and eyelashes. The best way to clean the eyes is by using a specialized eyelid cleaner.
  • Medications: the specialist doctor can prescribe an eyelid cleaner to reduce discomfort, such as OcuSoft.
  • Drops: it is important to keep the affected eye or eyes lubricated, for this the application of drops or artificial tears is fundamental.
  • Antibiotics: Intake of antibiotics should be prescribed to eliminate the condition by modifying the bacteria, preventing them from being harmful to the eye.
  • Omega 3,6 and 9: foods or supplements that contain omega 3 can help restore the eye and reduce inflammation.
  • Steroids: when the case is chronic or severe and the inflammation does not decrease with the procedures indicated above, the treating physician may recommend topical steroids, which would help to reduce the inflammation and protect the eye against irreversible damage.

Difference between Blepharitis and Meibomitis

Sometimes affected people often confuse Blepharitis with Meibomitis, but they are different conditions.

Blepharitis is divided into two types, one affects the outer part of the eyelids, just where the eyelashes are born. The other arises when the sebaceous glands found in the internal eyelids allow bacteria to grow disproportionately affecting the eye.

Meibomitis, on the other hand, only affects the meibomian glands, which are found along the eyelids.

Who can be affected by meibomianitis?

Meibomianitis affects patients of all ages. It is not contagious and, in general, does not cause permanent damage to the eyes. It often occurs in people who have oily skin, dandruff or dry eyes.


A chronic meibomitis can lead to dysfunction of the meibomian gland , which generates in the short or long term an inflammation that can block these glands, resulting in a decrease in the production of tears and dry eyes.

Foods that should be avoided to reduce the risks of Meibomitis

When the body is under treatment to reduce the condition caused by meibomitis, a balanced diet is recommended and avoid the consumption of dairy products, foods with sugar, high fat content, among others.