The structure of the lipid layer of the tear film

A problem presented at the US Bio PSW Ohio MBI 2012.

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Presented by:
Prof Richard Braun (Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Delaware)
Dr Ewen King-Smith (College of Optometry, Ohio State University)

Problem Description

Dry eye disorders affect about 15% of older Americans and are poorly understood. Increased evaporation is an important contributing factor. The superficial lipid layer of the tear film is normally an excellent barrier to evaporation but its effectiveness is often reduced in dry eye disorders. This lipid, called meibum, is secreted from meibomian glands in the lids.

The molecular organization of the lipid layer is poorly understood. The team will be asked to consider and propose models of molecular structure of the lipid layer, and to evaluate their consistency with observed properties which will be presented.

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