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Meibomian gland dysfunction is prevalent in Asia
Johnson & Johnson Vision study reveals 7 in 10 Singaporeans and 8 in 10 Thais suffer from symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction but do not seek professional help, putting eyesight at risk

Many Singaporeans (70%) and Thais (77%) regularly suffer from symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), a leading cause for Dry Eye Disease (DED), but they do not know the risks. MGD has a prevalence rate of between 46 to 70 per cent in Asian countries.

A survey by Johnson & Johnson Vision polled over 1,000 individuals in Singapore and Thailand to further understand the prevalence of dry eye symptoms as well as the lack of awareness around the condition among the population in both countries.

The survey revealed that most Singaporeans (86%) and Thais (79%) are unfamiliar with MGD, and a majority (76% of Singaporeans, 69% of Thais) choose not to seek professional help, putting their eyesight at risk.

MGD is a chronic, progressive and obstructive condition that can affect both the structure and the function of the oil glands in the eyelids. The oils are necessary for protecting the tears from pathogens, allergens and evaporation. Without proper functioning meibomian glands, patients may face eye discomfort, inflammation, fluctuating vision and be at risk for developing dry eye.

Symptoms of MGD include soreness, grittiness (the feeling of having dust in your eye), dryness, excessive watering, and burning sensation in the eye.

When treating MGD symptoms, the survey reported that most respondents used store-bought eyedrops (48% in Singapore, 33% in Thailand) or limit their digital screen time (37% in Singapore, 42% in Thailand). However, these methods only offer temporary relief from symptoms, but do not treat the primary cause of MGD – blocked meibomian glands.

Only a minority (12% in Singapore, 27% in Thailand) sought professional advice or treatment from an expert such as a pharmacist or eyecare professional.

Patients seeking professional help are diagnosed by eye doctors to assess the frequency and severity of symptoms, as well as help track progression over time. Some treatments administered include meibomian gland probing where the main ducts of the meibomian gland are pierced using a surgical instrument or the vectored thermal pulsation where meibomian glands function is improved by liquifying the gland contents and gently and simultaneously evacuating the liquified contents out of the glands.

The survey advises routine eye check-ups to lower the risk of eye disease. To find out if you are at risk of MGD, visit http://dryeyes.vision/.

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