The conjunctiva lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the sclera (white part of the eye). It is composed of non-keratinized, stratified columnar epithelium with goblet cells, and also stratified columnar epithelium.
The conjunctiva helps lubricate the eye by producing mucus and tears, although a smaller volume of tears than the lacrimal gland. It also contributes to immune surveillance and helps to prevent the entrance of microbes into the eye.
The conjunctiva is typically divided into three parts:
Sensory innervation of the conjunctiva is divided into four parts:
The conjunctiva consists of non-keratinized, both stratified squamous and stratified columnar epithelium, with interspersed goblet cells. The epithelial layer contains blood vessels, fibrous tissue, and lymphatic channels. Accessory lacrimal glands in the conjunctiva constantly produce the aqueous portion of tears. Additional cells present in the conjunctival epithelium include melanocytes, T and B cell lymphocytes.
Diseases and disorders
Disorders of the conjunctiva and cornea are a common source of eye complaints.
The surface of the eye is exposed to various external influences and is especially susceptible to trauma, infections, chemical irritation, allergic reactions and dryness.
The conjunctiva can become inflamed due to an infection or an autoimmune response. This is known as conjunctivitis and commonly referred to as pinkeye.
Conjunctival irritation can occur for a wide variety of reasons including dry eye and overexposure to VOCs (Volatile organic compounds).
Leptospirosis, an infection with Leptospira, can cause conjunctival suffusion, which is characterized by chemosis, and redness without exudates.
With age, the conjunctiva can stretch and loosen from the underlying sclera, leading to the formation of conjunctival folds, a condition known as conjunctivochalasis.
The conjunctiva can be affected by tumors which can be benign, pre-malignant or malignant.
- Dry eye
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Medicinenet.com (1999). Conjunctiva. Retrieved July 25, 2004.
- MedEd at Loyola medicine/pulmonar/images/anatomy/eyeli.jpg