Date Published:2016 Mar
This review focuses on conjunctival goblet cells and their essential function in the maintenance of eye health. The main function of goblet cells is to produce and secrete mucins that lubricate the ocular surface. An excess or a defect in those mucins leads to several alterations that makes goblet cells central players in maintaining the proper mucin balance and ensuring the correct function of ocular surface tissues. A typical pathology that occurs with mucous deficiency is dry eye disease, whereas the classical example of mucous hyperproduction is allergic conjunctivitis. In this review, we analyze how goblet cell number and function can be altered in these diseases and in contact lens (CL) wearers. We found that most published studies focused exclusively on the goblet cell number. However, recent advances have demonstrated that, along with mucin secretion, goblet cells are also able to secrete cytokines and respond to them. We describe the effect of different cytokines on goblet cell proliferation and secretion. We conclude that it is important to further explore the effect of CL wear and cytokines on conjunctival goblet cell function.