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Stem Cells International
Volume 2015, Article ID 601731, 7 pages
Review Article

An Update on Ocular Surface Epithelial Stem Cells: Cornea and Conjunctiva

1Department of Eye and Vision Science, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK
2St. Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK

Received 26 February 2015; Revised 21 May 2015; Accepted 25 May 2015

Academic Editor: Toru Hosoda

Copyright © 2015 Tiago Ramos et al. 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 human ocular surface (front surface of the eye) is formed by two different types of epithelia: the corneal epithelium centrally and the conjunctival epithelium that surrounds this. These two epithelia are maintained by different stem cell populations (limbal stem cells for the corneal epithelium and the conjunctival epithelial stem cells). In this review, we provide an update on our understanding of these epithelia and their stem cells systems, including embryology, new markers, and controversy around the location of these stem cells. We also provide an update on the translation of this understanding into clinical applications for the treatment of debilitating ocular surface diseases.