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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 16 - Special Senses

Plate 16.309 Eyelid

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Plate 16.309 Eyelid

Rhesus monkey, 10% formalin, H. & E., 50 x.


The eyelid is a fold of skin; superficially, the keratinized epidermis blends internally with a mucous membrane (the conjunctiva). These layers are supported by a dermal core of connective tissue in which striated and smooth muscle, glands, and hair follicles are located.

Eyelash follicle: A row of short stout hairs are found at the free margin of the lid. Penetrate deep into the dermis. Their follicles are similar to those found elsewhere in the body but lack the arrector pili smooth muscle.

Skin: Thin layer of epidermis continuous with the conjunctiva.

Fat lobule: Scattered in the connective tissue core of the eyelid.

Orbicular muscle: Skeletal muscle bundles that lower the eyelids.

Conjunctiva: Mucous membrane lining the inside of the eyelid. The epithelium is stratified columnar with goblet cells scattered among the superficial cells.

Meibomian gland: The tarsal glands of the eyelids, first noted by Casserius in 1609 and described by Heinrich Meibom, a German anatomist, in 1666. These are simple, branched alveolar sebaceous glands disposed in a plane perpendicular to the lid margin. The glandular alveoli are connected by short lateral ducts to a long central excretory duct lined with stratified squamous epithelium. The glands open at the inner free margin of the lid at the junction of the skin and conjunctiva. Secretion of the glands serves to lubricate the surface of the lids.  

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