An instrument, the Meibometer, is described for estimating the casual level of meibomian lipid on the human eyelid margins, adapted from a commercially-available instrument used for measurement of skin surface lipid. A loop of plastic tape is pressed onto the everted lower lid margin to lift off a blot of lipid. The resultant change in light transmission of the tape is read by a photometer. Readings are not affected by side (R or L), time of day or lid surface temperature. After cleaning lipid from the lid margins with hexane, the rate of recovery per 10 blinks, as a percentage of the pre-cleaned level, was measured as 33.7 +/- 5.8 (mean +/- SE). This rate of delivery appears to provide enough lipid for complete resurfacing of the preocular tear film with every blink. Over short periods no detectable lipid was delivered in the absence of blinking.