Anatomy & histology-eyelid

Topic Completed: 1 February 2014

Minor changes: 18 December 2020

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PubMed Search: Anatomy [title] of eyelid [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Anatomy & histology-eyelid. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeeyelidanatomy.html. Accessed December 3rd, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Has cutaneous and conjunctival portion
  • Palpebral (tarsal) conjunctiva lines interior of eyelid
    • Very thin
    • Continuous with bulbar conjunctiva that covers the sclera
    • Becomes papillary with allergic or bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Contains eccrine and apocrine glands (glands of Moll) and sebaceous glands
  • Sebaceous glands (Meibomian glands within eyelid fibrous tarsus and glands of Zeis associated with eyelashes) create lipid layer of tear film which retards evaporation of tears
  • The orifices of Meibomian glands open just in front of the posterior edge of the lid margin and are separated from the more anteriorly placed eyelashes by a gray line
  • Muscular layer is composed primary of orbicularis oculi muscle
  • Specimens received are often from cosmetic blepharoplasty or other reparative surgery with no abnormalities
  • Other lesions are similar to those in skin
  • Creates tear film via accessory lacrimal glands embedded above fibrous tarsus of eyelid
  • Helps to protect and lubricate the globe
  • Tumors may prevent complete closure of eyelid, leading to exposure and ulceration of cornea
Gray line
  • Divides the eyelid into anterior and posterior parts
  • It corresponds with the position of the pretarsal orbicularis muscle

Images hosted on other servers:
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Upper eyelid

Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images
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Normal upper eyelid
M: meibomian glands
O: orbicularis muscle
T: tarsal plate
Z: Zeis glands

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Normal lower eyelid:
smaller tarsal plate
than upper eyelid

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Normal Meibomian gland:
sebaceous lobules connect
to sebaceous duct, where
ductal epithelium forms
valve-like structures

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Eyelid cross section

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