[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 1980

Branching of Microvilli in the Human Conjunctival Epithelium

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Cornea Research, Eye Research Institute of Retina Foundation, Boston (Drs Greiner and Allansmith); the Department of Pathology, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago (Drs Greiner and Gladstone); the Ernest E. Just Laboratory of Cellular Biology, Department of Anatomy, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC (Mr Covington); and the Department of Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta (Dr Weidman). Dr Korb is in private practice in Boston.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1980;98(7):1253-1255. doi:10.1001/archopht.1980.01020040105015

• Biopsy specimens were obtained from the upper tarsal and limbal conjunctivae of ten normal persons and from the upper tarsal conjunctivae of five asymptomatic contact lens wearers and five patients with giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) associated with contact lens wear. The microvillar surface of the conjunctival epithelium was studied by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Branches often stemmed from the side of a straight tubular microvillus and formed an acute angle with the main process. Branches sprouted at various distances from the origin of the microvillus. The most common branching pattern was the bifurcated (bifid) form. Occasionally, both primary and secondary bifurcations were observed on the same microvillus. Some microvilli were branched in the normal conjunctivae, but the conjunctivae of asymptomatic contact lens wearers and patients with GPC had more branched microvilli and greater polymorphism, which correlated with the degree of alteration. This report demonstrates the presence of branched microvilli and describes the types seen in normal conjunctivae and compares the frequency with which branched microvilli are seen in altered conjunctival surfaces.