The ocular surface and tear film and their dysfunction in dry eye disease

Surv Ophthalmol. 2001 Mar;45 Suppl 2:S203-10. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6257(00)00203-4.


The ocular surface, tear film, lacrimal glands, and eyelids act as a functional unit to preserve the quality of the refractive surface of the eye and to resist injury and protect the eye against changing bodily and environmental conditions. Events that disturb the homeostasis of this functional unit can result in a vicious cycle of ocular surface disease. The tear film is the most dynamic structure of the functional unit, and its production and turnover is essential to maintaining the health of the ocular surface. Classically, the tear film is reported to be composed of three layers: the mucin, aqueous, and lipid layers. The boundaries and real thickness of such layers is still under discussion. A dysfunction of any of these layers can result in dry eye disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cornea / metabolism*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Tears / metabolism*


  • Mucins