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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 103947, 22 pages
Review Article

Ocular Surface Development and Gene Expression

Departments of Ophthalmology, and Cell Biology and Physiology, McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 203 Lothrop Street, Room 1025, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Received 3 October 2012; Accepted 16 January 2013

Academic Editor: Terri L. Young

Copyright © 2013 Shivalingappa K. Swamynathan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The ocular surface—a continuous epithelial surface with regional specializations including the surface and glandular epithelia of the cornea, conjunctiva, and lacrimal and meibomian glands connected by the overlying tear film—plays a central role in vision. Molecular and cellular events involved in embryonic development, postnatal maturation, and maintenance of the ocular surface are precisely regulated at the level of gene expression by a well-coordinated network of transcription factors. A thorough appreciation of the biological characteristics of the ocular surface in terms of its gene expression profiles and their regulation provides us with a valuable insight into the pathophysiology of various blinding disorders that disrupt the normal development, maturation, and/or maintenance of the ocular surface. This paper summarizes the current status of our knowledge related to the ocular surface development and gene expression and the contribution of different transcription factors to this process.