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The Three Layers That Make Up the Tear Film

  • The First Layer is the Mucous Layer

    The inner tear film layer contains mucin or mucous-like substance. This layer is produced by goblet cells which are located on the surface of the eye. This mucin or mucous-like material provides the base of the tear film on the eye, providing a hydrophilic layer, and it promotes the smooth and even distribution of the tear film.

  • The Second Layer is the Aqueous Layer

    The tear film layer that rests on top of the mucous layer contains water, enzymes, chemicals, minerals, and proteins. The water layer is produced by the lacrimal gland. Most people have the false impression that this is the only component of their tears or that their tear film is just water.

  • The Third Layer is the Liquid Layer

    The outer layer contains oil or lipids produced by the Meibomian glands which are located in the eyelids. There are approximately 24 to 25 glands in each eyelid that produce the lipids. The Meibomian glands secrete their oil from small openings on the edge of the eyelid onto the tear film. The oily layer floats on top of the liquid layer and provides a barrier to keep the middle liquid layer from evaporating from the eye. This oil also helps with lubrication.

Meibomian Gland
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The Cataract & Refractive
Institute of Florida

James E. Croley III, M.D.

Office Hours

  • Monday

    7:30am – 4:00pm
    Dr. Croley sees patients at 7:30am in Cape Coral.

  • Tuesday

    8:00am – 4:00pm
    Dr. Croley performs surgeries on this day.

  • Wednesday

    7:30am – 4:00pm
    Dr. Croley sees patients at 7:30am in Cape Coral.

  • Thursday

    8:00am – 3:30pm
    Dr. Croley sees patients at 8:30am in Lehigh.

  • Friday

    8:00am – 3:30pm
    Dr. Croley alternates also in Bonita & Cape Coral.

Request an Appointment

(239) 772-2122

(239) 368-1020

(239) 949-1190