Meibography is a specialized imaging study developed exclusively for the purpose of directly visualizing the morphology of meibomian glands in vivo (in the body). The lids are inverted, and a transilluminating wand is placed against the lid. Digital photographs are taken. The photographs reveal the structure of the glands, their shape and size, and the degree of drop out (glands that are missing or atrophied).

There are several advantages to using meibography when evaluating patients with Dry Eye. While some methods are capable of measuring some parameter of meibomian gland function, they are incapable of directly evaluating meibomian gland structure. Methods available for directly observing the architecture of meibomian glands are: meibography and posterior eyelid biopsy.

Biopsy of the posterior eyelid demonstrates the microscopic structure of meibomian glands, but it is an invasive ex vivo study, and many patients are reluctant to consent to such a procedure. By comparison, meibography is a non-invasive, in vivo study that permits gross and microscopic examination of the structure of meibomian glands.

An experienced meibographer can complete the study in minutes, with minimal discomfort to the patient. Meibographical images are scrutinized using any of several techniques for quantitating gland architecture.

Many studies have verified the utility of meibography in the diagnosis and evaluation of MGD.


Meibography: A review of techniques and technologies
Wise RJ, Sobel RK, Allen RC.
Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology
Oct 2012; 26(4): 349–356. Published online Sep 7, 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.sjopt.2012.08.007 PMCID: PMC3729652
View the full report