The sebaceous glands belong to the appendages of the skin. They serve to produce a secretion, the so-called tallow, and excrete. This has the task to protect the skin from dehydration and consists mainly of fats and proteins.
A special form of the sebaceous glands on the eye are the Meibomian glands. They are found at the back of the lid and produce the fatty portion of the tear film.
Sebaceous glands are found on the body for the most part in connection with the hair sheaths, the so-called follicles, or the hair roots. These are the eyelashes on the eye. In addition, so-called "free sebaceous glands" are found on the eye, which are not associated with follicles but occur isolated in the upper layers of the skin of the eyelids. The glands form small, bag-shaped cell accumulations on the sides of the follicles or in the upper layers of the skin.
In contrast to other glands, they do not have their own excretory duct into which the cells secrete the secretion. Instead, the cells continue to fill up with secretions and are finally released as a whole to the outside. This form of delivery of substances is called holocrine.
The sebum is then passed out along the eyelashes and spreads to the skin of the eyelids. The secretion of the meibomian glands also mixes with the tear fluid.
The secretion of the sebaceous gland primarily fulfills a protective function. Its high content of fats protects the skin and hair from drying out.
Furthermore, it makes them more stable and resistant to outside influences. The sebum supports the natural barrier function of the skin and thus helps to ward off pathogens and harmful substances such as chemicals.
Of particular importance is the secretion of the meibomian glands. This, after delivery from the glands, combines with the tear fluid produced in the lacrimal glands and forms the high-fat portion of the tear film. This is necessary to prevent the rapid evaporation of the tear film. Only then can adequate hydration and supply of the cornea with nutrients be guaranteed.
Furthermore, the tear fluid serves to compensate, to a certain extent, for irregularities on the surface of the cornea and thus to improve the optical properties of the eye. In addition, it has a cleaning function for the eye.
All of this can only work optimally if the natural composition of the tear film is ensured by the unrestricted function of the various glands.
Blockages of individual sebaceous glands on the eye usually do not occur and usually resolve themselves again. However, if there is persistent drainage obstruction of the glandular secretion, this is often expressed by inflammation of the lid margin, a so-called blepharitis ( eyelid inflammation). A distinction is made here between the anterior blepharitis, which affects the sebaceous glands on the eyelashes, and the posterior blepharitis, which is caused by an outflow obstruction of the meimbom glands.
The former is indicated by greasy eyelashes, a waxy eyelid margin, as well as scaling of the skin and itching. When the meimbom glands are relocated, a foamy, viscous and distinctly thickened secretion often appears at the edge of the lid. Furthermore, it comes through the disturbed composition of the tear film in the absence of glandular secretion always dry eyes.
In addition, since the protective function of the sebum is reduced, it often comes to infections of the eyelash base, especially with bacteria. These infections are manifested by marked swelling of the margins of the eyelids as well as redness and pain.
Therapeutically, antibiotic treatment should be used in the presence of bacterial infection. For this purpose, antibiotically effective eye ointments are usually used. Furthermore, it should be tried to keep the eyes sufficiently moist with the help of eye drops. The adhesions of the gland exits as well as the secretion accumulation can, however, be treated with simple home remedies.
For the treatment of clogged sebaceous glands on the eye, eyelid hygiene is the main focus. For this a number of home remedies can be used. Carefully sweeping the edge of the lid with moistened cotton swabs or some baby shampoo can help remove scaling and stored secretions.
The pharmacies also offer a range of special cleaning solutions, as well as lint-free cotton pads and cleaning wipes that are well-suited to eyelid hygiene. In general, care should be taken to use the cotton buds or wipes only for one touch of the eyelid to prevent the distribution of germs as possible.
Furthermore, it should be done with very light touches and rubbing of the eyelid should be avoided so that no further irritation of the already very sensitive skin.
In addition to sanitary measures, heat treatments can help to help drain the gland ducts and reduce eyelid swelling. Warm compresses as well as red lamps or special warm eyeglasses are especially suitable for this purpose.
Also, various homeopathic medicines can be used in a, caused by clogged sebaceous glands, Lidrandentzündung. However, this should only be done in addition to measures of eyelid hygiene. In addition, when infected with bacteria, homeopathic remedies can not replace antibiotic treatment.
The homeopathic remedies are usually available in the form of eye drops and contain Belladonna, Euphrasia and Mercurius. Since these can also have side effects, care should always be taken to ensure possible exclusion criteria before using the preparations. It is advisable to consult a doctor.
Knots on the edge of the eyelid or the sebaceous glands can have different causes. If there is redness and concomitant pain, it may be an inflammation of the sebaceous glands, a so-called barley grain.
If the swelling is rather painless and not red, the cause may also be a congestion of the meimboma glands.
Other possible causes include warts, benign connective tissue tumors ( so-called fibroids ), cysts, cholesterol deposits as well as malignant tumors. In any case, it is advisable to consult a doctor to assess the need for treatment.
A painful inflammation of the sebaceous glands on the eye is called in medicine Hordeolum. In the vernacular, it is also known by the term barley grain. Depending on which glands are inflamed, one speaks of an outer barley grain, if the sebaceous glands of the eyelashes are affected as well as of an inner barley grain, if the inflammation emanates from the Meibom glands.
Before the appearance of externally recognizable signs, such inflammation often manifests a few days before with pain during movement of the eyelid. In the course of it then comes to a reddened, usually tuberous swelling of the lid and itching. Since the knot is filled with pus and does not have much space to spread, it also usually leads to an unpleasant feeling of tightness.
The inflammation is usually caused by bacteria. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure adequate hygiene and that the affected eyelid should not be touched, if possible, in order to avoid spread of the germs. In most cases, the barley grain bursts after a few days by itself and the accumulated pus flows off.
However, as there is always a risk of inflammation spreading to the conjunctiva and the eye itself or the eye socket, it is advisable to see a doctor, especially if the inflammation after at least one week has not gone away by itself.
Measures that can positively influence the course and accelerate the bursting of the barley grain are eyelid hygiene as well as heat applications such as warm compresses or red light lamps.
The nipples are a region of the body with a high density of sebaceous glands. These can clog with a strong production of secretions. This is usually seen from the outside as a white-yellowish point in the areola and also forms a small elevation.
Similar to pimples on the face you can try to drain the sebaceous glands by applying pressure from two sides. Care should be taken and no sharp instruments should be used as this will result in a high risk of injury and subsequent inflammation.
In general, care should be taken when expressing sufficient hygiene. It is recommended to clean the place afterwards with disinfectant.