Original Research

Lipid composition of human meibum

R. Schnetler, W. D. H. Gillan, G. Koorsen
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 72, No 2 | a50 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v72i2.50 | © 2013 R. Schnetler, W. D. H. Gillan, G. Koorsen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 December 2013 | Published: 08 December 2013

About the author(s)

R. Schnetler, Department of Biochemistry, South Africa
W. D. H. Gillan, Department of Optometry, South Africa
G. Koorsen, Department of Biochemistry

Full Text:

PDF (353KB)

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


The structure and function of meibomian gland lipids in the tear film are highly complex. Evidence shows that the precorneal tear film consists of discrete layers: the inner mucin layer, the middle aqueous layer and the outer lipid layer. In this review we focus on the outer, biphasic lipid layer of the tear film which consists of a ‘thick’ outer, non-polar layer  and a ‘thin’ inner, polar layer. We discuss the main composition of the polar and non-polar lipids within meibum (wax esters, cholesteryl esters, mono-, di- and tri-acylglycerols, ceramides, phospholipids  et cetera). We address the composition of meibomian lipids in subjects suffering from various ocular diseases in comparison with the composition in healthy individuals. Further analysis is needed to determine whether a correlation exists between the etiology of various ocular diseases and the fluctuation on the lipids as well as to establish whether or not tear lipid analysis can be used as a
diagnostic tool.


Meibum; tear lipids; polar lipids; non-polar lipids; dry eye disease


Total abstract views: 3472
Total article views: 5331

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.