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Recent studies have demonstrated that tear lipocalin (TL) and phospholipids have a crucial role in maintaining tear film stability. The level of TL in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) was examined and these data were correlated with the severity of their clinical disorder.12 patients with obstructive MGD, 12 patients with seborrhoeic MGD, and 12 age matched normal control subjects participated in this study. 3 μl of unstimulated tears were collected with a micropipette from the inferior tear meniscus in the right eye of all subjects. Tear samples were fractionated by high performance liquid chromatography, and TL concentrations were assayed with a bicinchoninic acid technique.The mean concentration of TL in patients with obstructive and seborrhoeic MGD was significantly lower than in normal controls. TL concentration correlated positively with tear film break up time and negatively with fluorescein staining scores.These results suggest that TL deficiency may be a predisposing factor for the manifestation of symptoms in MGD.