Conjunctiva

The conjunctiva is a thin mucous membrane, covering most of the anterior surface of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. The conjunctiva is composed of two to five layers of stratified columnar epithelium containing mucin-secreting goblet cells. At the corneo-scleral junction, the limbus, a gradual transition from stratified columnar to stratified squamous corneal epithelium is seen. At the palpebral margins, a relatively abrupt transition into the epidermis is present. The basal layer contains melanocytes and Langerhans cells. The conjunctival stroma is composed of fibrous connective tissue containing fibroblasts, some inflammatory cells, blood vessels, smooth muscle, nerves and lymphatic channels. In the fornices the conjunctival epithelium contains more goblet cells and the stroma can additionally contain cartilage. In the medial inter-palpebral area of the eye, a nodular mass is present: the caruncle. The caruncle is covered by stratified non-ke-ratinised squamous epithelium and the subepithelial stroma contains sebaceous glands, hair follicles and muscle fibres.

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