Evaporation from the ocular surface is dramatically reduced by the lipid layer which covers it. With this layer intact, evaporation represents a small loss of water for which the lacrimal gland easily compensates. When tear production is compromised evaporation becomes important, especially since evaporation in almost all ocular surface disease states and any surface perturbation, including contact lens wear, increases evaporation significantly. How the barrier function of the lipid layer accomplishes this reduction in evaporation is not understood and is probably quite complex as is the structure of the lipid layer. Improving this barrier function remains an important and elusive goal.