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Meibomian gland

Meibomian gland
Front of left eye with eyelids separated to show medial canthus and openings of tarsal (meibomian) glands.
Latin glandulae tarsales
Gray's subject #227 1026
MeSH Meibomian+glands
Dorlands/Elsevier g_06/12392757

The meibomian glands (or tarsal glands) are a special kind of sebaceous glands at the rim of the eyelids, responsible for the supply of sebum, an oily substance that prevents evaporation of the eye's tear film, prevents tear spillage onto the cheek, and makes the closed lids airtight. There are approximately 50 glands on the upper eyelids and 25 glands on the lower eyelids. The glands are named after Heinrich Meibom (1638-1700), a German physician.


In humans, more than 90 different proteins have been identified in meibomian gland secretions.[1]


Dysfunctional meibomian glands often cause dry eyes, one of the more common eye conditions. They may also cause blepharitis, as the dry eyeball rubs off small pieces of skin from the eyelid, which can get infected. Inflammation of the meibomian glands (also known as meibomitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, or posterior blepharitis [1]) causes the glands to be obstructed by thick secretions, the resulting swelling is termed a chalazion. Besides leading to dry eyes, the obstructions can be degraded by bacterial lipases, resulting in the formation of free fatty acids, which irritate the eyes and sometimes cause punctate keratitis.


  1. ^ Tsai PS, Evans JE, Green KM, Sullivan RM, Schaumberg DA, Richards SM, Dana MR, Sullivan DA. "Proteomic analysis of human meibomian gland secretions." Br J Ophthalmol. 2006 Mar;90(3):372-7. PMID 16488965.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Meibomian_gland". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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