During the past decade a significant international research effort has been directed towards understanding the composition and regulation of the preocular tear film. This effort has been motivated by the recognition that the tear film plays an essential role in maintaining corneal and conjunctival integrity, protecting against microbial challenge and preserving visual acuity. In addition, research has been stimulated by the knowledge that alteration or deficiency of the tear film, which occurs in countless individuals throughout the world, may lead to desiccation of the ocular surface, ulceration and perforation of the cornea, an increased incidence of infectious disease, and potentially, pronounced visual disability and blindness. 7 To promote further progress in this field of vision research, the International Conference on the Lacrimal Gland, Tear Film and Dry Eye Syndromes: Basic Science and Clinical Relevance was held in the Southampton Princess Resort in Bermuda from November 14 to 17, 1992. This meeting was designed to assess critically the current knowledge and 'state of the art' research on the structure and function of lacrimal tissue and tears in both health and disease. The goal of this conference was to provide an international exchange of information that would be of value to basic scientists involved in eye research, to physicians in the ophthalmological community, and to pharmaceutical companies with an interest in the treatment of lacrimal gland, tear film or ocular surface disorders (e. g. Sjogren's syndrome).