• Chinchilla Laniger;
  • goblet cells;
  • Harderian gland;
  • lacrimal gland;
  • Meibomian gland


Objective  To investigate the density and distribution of conjunctival goblet cells (GC) and study the anatomy and microscopic characteristics of glands associated with the eye in chinchillas (Chinchilla Laniger).

Procedure  12 chinchillas were included in the study. Conjunctiva (divided into four regions), eyelids, and glands were embedded in paraffin wax, sectioned, stained, and analyzed.

Results  Highest GC densities were found in the palpebral region of the nasal and temporal conjunctiva of both eyelids (GC index: 25.1–18.2%), and lowest densities, in the bulbar and marginal region of the nasal and temporal conjunctiva of both eyelids (GC index: 1.5–0.0%). Meibomian glands extend along the entire length of both eyelids, and the whole glandular complex broadens toward the temporal canthus. This is macroscopically visible through the conjunctiva. The openings of the Meibomian glands are macroscopically not discernible. The light pink, smooth, and crescent-shaped lacrimal gland lies next to the aforementioned broadened part of the Meibomian glands in the temporal canthus. The whitish, 0.9-cm-long, smooth Harderian gland is firmly attached to the posterior part of the globe and extends nasally from the optic nerve to the equator. Furthermore, chinchillas possess two lacrimal puncta, situated on the inner conjunctival surface of both eyelids near the medial canthus. A pigmented lacrimal canaliculus originates from each punctum. The vestigial nictitating membrane is supported by a hyaline cartilage and is pigmented at its free margin.

Conclusions  Chinchillas possess a Harderian gland, a lacrimal gland, and Meibomian glands. The GC density in the nasal and temporal palpebral conjunctiva is higher than in guinea pigs.