Medical Definition of Meibomian gland

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Meibomian gland: A type of gland in the eyelids that makes a lubricant called sebum which is discharged through tiny openings in the edges of the lids.

The meibomian glands can become inflamed, a condition termed meibomianitis or meibomitis, due to allergy, acne in adolescence, and rosacea. Chronic inflammation of the meibomian glands leads to cysts, called chalazions. Treatment usually consists of lubricant eye drops, warm compresses to the eyes, and careful cleansing of the eyelids. An antibiotic ointment may be prescribed to apply to the edge of the eyelid.

The meibomian glands are named for a 17th-century German anatomist Heinrich Meibom (who must have had good eyes to see these minute structures). Also known as the palpebral gland, tarsal gland, or tarsoconjunctival gland.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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