For the 2015 South Korean film, see Eyelids (film).
"Palpebrae" redirects here. For the levator palpebrae, see levator palpebrae superioris muscle.
"Palpebral" is not to be confused with "Palpable".

Upper and lower eyelids
Artery lacrimal, superior palpebral, inferior palpebral
Nerve upper: infratrochlear, supratrochlear, supraorbital, lacrimal
lower: infratrochlear, branches of infraorbital
Latin Palpebra
(palpebra inferior, palpebra superior)
MeSH A01.456.505.420.504
TA A15.2.07.024
FMA 75178

Anatomical terminology

An eyelid is a thin fold of skin that covers and protects the human eye. The levator palpebrae superioris muscle retracts the eyelid to "open" the eye. This can be either voluntarily or involuntarily. The human eyelid features a row of eyelashes along the eyelid margin, which serve to heighten the protection of the eye from dust and foreign debris, as well as from perspiration. "Palpebral" (and "blepharal") means relating to the eyelids. Its key function is to regularly spread the tears and other secretions on the eye surface to keep it moist, since the cornea must be continuously moist. They keep the eyes from drying out when asleep. Moreover, the blink reflex protects the eye from foreign bodies.



The eyelid is made up of several layers; from superficial to deep, these are: skin, subcutaneous tissue, orbicularis oculi, orbital septum and tarsal plates, and palpebral conjunctiva. The meibomian glands lie within the eyelid and secrete the lipid part of the tear film.


The skin is similar to areas elsewhere, but is relatively thin[1] and has more pigment cells. In diseased persons these may wander and cause a discoloration of the lids. It contains sweat glands and hairs, the latter becoming eyelashes as the border of the eyelid is met.[2] The skin of the eyelid contains the greatest concentration of sebaceous glands found anywhere in the body.[1]


In humans, the sensory nerve supply to the upper eyelids is from the infratrochlear, supratrochlear, supraorbital and the lacrimal nerves from the ophthalmic branch (V1) of the trigeminal nerve (CN V). The skin of the lower eyelid is supplied by branches of the infratrochlear at the medial angle, the rest is supplied by branches of the infraorbital nerve of the maxillary branch (V2) of the trigeminal nerve.

Blood supply

In humans, the eyelids are supplied with blood by two arches on each upper and lower lid. The arches are formed by anastamoses of the lateral palpebral arteries and medial palpebral arteries, branching off from the lacrimal artery and ophthalmic artery, respectively.

Clinical significance

Any condition that affects the eyelid is called eyelid disorder. The most common eyelid disorders, their causes, symptoms and treatments are the following:


The eyelid surgeries are called blepharoplasties and are performed either for medical reasons or to alter one's facial appearance.

Most of the cosmetic eyelid surgeries are aimed to enhance the look of the face and to boost self-confidence by restoring a youthful eyelid appearance. They are intended to remove fat and excess skin that may be found on the eyelids after a certain age.

Eyelid surgeries are also performed to improve peripheral vision or to treat chalazion, eyelid tumors, ptosis, extropion, trichiasis, and other eyelid-related conditions.

Eyelid surgeries are overall safe procedures but they carry certain risks since the area on which the operation is performed is so close to the eye.

Society and culture

Eyelid enhancement

Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure performed to correct deformities and improve the appearance of the eyelids.[9] With 1.43 million people undergoing the procedure in 2014,[10] blepharoplasty is the second most popular cosmetic procedure in the world (Botulinum toxin injection is first), and the most frequently performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the world.[11]

The procedure is particularly popular in East Asia, where it has been reported to be the most common aesthetic procedure in Taiwan and South Korea.[12] Though the procedure is also used to reinforce muscle and tendon tissues surrounding the eye, the operative goal of East Asian blepharoplasty is to remove the adipose and linear tissues underneath and surrounding the eyelids in order to crease the upper eyelid.[13]

The use of double sided tape to create the illusion of creased, or "double" eyelids has become a prominent practice in China and other Asian countries. There is a social pressure for women to have this surgery, and also to use the alternative (taping) practices.[14] Blepharoplasty has become a common surgical operation that is actively encouraged, whilst other kinds of plastic surgery are actively discouraged in Chinese culture.[15]


After death, it is common in many cultures to pull the eyelids of the deceased down to close the eyes. This is a typical part of the last offices.

See also

Eyelid affected by stye

Additional images


  1. 1 2 Goldman, Lee. Goldman's Cecil Medicine (24th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders. p. 2426. ISBN 1437727883.
  2. "eye, human." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010.
  3. "Facts About Blepharitis". Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  4. "Eyelid Disorders". Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  5. "Upper Eyelid Edema Treatment and Symptoms". Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  6. "Eyelid and Orbital Tumors". Retrieved 2010-03-30. "Eyelid and Orbital Tumours". Retrieved 2014-08-22.
  7. "Eyelid twitch". Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  8. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Edition 21, Page-6.
  9. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Web. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/eyelid-surgery.html
  10. Taylor, Rosie. "July 2015 ISAPS Global Statistics Release." International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (2015): n. pag. Web. 8 Jul 2015. http://www.isaps.org/Media/Default/global-statistics/July%202015%20ISAPS%20Global%20Statistics%20Release%20-%20Final.pdf
  11. "Quick Facts: Highlights of the ISAPS 2014 Statistics on Cosmetic Surgery." International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (2015). Web. http://www.isaps.org/Media/Default/global-statistics/Quick%20Facts%202015v2.pdf
  12. Liao WC, Tung TC, Tsai TR, Wang CY, Lin CH (2005). "Celebrity arcade suture blepharoplasty for double eyelid". Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 29 (6): 540–5. doi:10.1007/s00266-005-0012-5. PMID 16237581.
  13. Mayo Clinic Staff. "Blepharoplasty." Mayo Clinic (2016). Web. 27 Apr 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/blepharoplasty/basics/definition/prc-20020042
  14. Levinovitz, Alan (22 October 2013). "Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine". Slate (magazine). Retrieved 2 July 2016
  15. Cornell, Joanna. "In the Eyelids of the Beholder." Yale Globalist (2010): n. pag. Web. 2 Mar 2011. http://tyglobalist.org/perspectives/in-the-eyelids-of-the-beholder/


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