Treating Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) Caused by Demodex Mites

Demodex mites are the smallest known animal. They live primarily at the roots of the lashes and in the meibomian glands. They can also be found on the skin.

Demodex mites can only be killed once they have hatched. One of the reasons why it is difficult to eradicate the mites is because the mites lay eggs below the surface of the skin, at the roots of the lashes. The eggs survive treatment, and continue to hatch. The larvae then grow into adults, at which point they reproduce and lay more eggs. The life-span of demodex mites is 19-23 days.

The treatment for both types of demodex mites, Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis, is essentially the same. In addition to topical eye treatments, it is important to wash bed linens in very hot water and dry them on high at least once a week. in order to remove eggs, larvae, and mites that may be found there. It is also important to wash the face, nose, nostrils, ears, and hair at least once a day to wash away mites, and the debris, they leave behind.

Pets in the home, because they can also harbor demodex mites, may contribute to the condition and make treatment more difficult.

Ivermectin, Oral
Ivermectin, Topical


Blepharitis Diagnosis: Don’t Forget Demodex
Stephenson, M.
Review of Ophthalmology
September 16, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2015 from
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