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Exp Eye Res. 2017 Oct;163:64-71. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2017.06.010.

New insights into the morphology and function of meibomian glands.

Author information

Itoh Clinic, 626-11 Minaminakano, Minuma-ku, Saitama, Saitama 337-0042, Japan; Lid and Meibomian Gland Working Group, Japan. Electronic address:
Lid and Meibomian Gland Working Group, Japan; Omiya Hamada Eye Clinic, 1-169-1 Sakuragicho, Omiyaku, Saitama, Saitama 330-0854, Japan.
Division of Cornea and Ocular Surface, Ohshima Eye Hospital, Japan.


Meibomian glands secrete meibum, which gives rise to the lipid layer of the tear film and thereby prevents excessive evaporation of tear fluid. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a major causative condition of evaporative dry eye, which is more common than the aqueous-deficient type of dry eye. Noninvasive meibography relies on infrared light and an infrared-sensitive camera to reveal the morphology of meibomian glands in both the upper and lower eyelids, whereas tear interferometry allows both qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the lipid layer of the tear film. These two techniques not only provide valuable clinical information related to dry eye but also allow clinical evaluation of MGD. Tear interferometry also has the potential to distinguish the condition of the tear film between normal individuals and dry eye patients. Furthermore, combined evaluation of the noninvasive breakup time of the tear film and the interferometric fringe pattern as determined by tear interferometry allows classification of the subtype of dry eye disease.


Meibomian gland; Noninvasive meibography; Tear film; Tear interferometry; dry eye

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