Date Published:2016 Sep
Goblet cells within the conjunctival epithelium are specialized cells that secrete mucins onto the surface of the eye. Recent research has demonstrated new characteristics of the cells, including factors influencing their differentiation, their gene products and their functions at the ocular surface. The following review summarizes the newly discovered aspects of the role of Spdef, a member of the Ets transcription factor family in conjunctival goblet cell differentiation, the newly discovered goblet cell products including claudin2, the Wnt inhibitor Frzb, and the transmembrane mucin Muc16. The current concepts of conjunctival goblet cell function, including debris removal and immune surveillance are reviewed, as are changes in the goblet cell population in ocular surface diseases. Major remaining questions regarding conjunctival cell biology are discussed.