BACKGROUND Although the role of cartilage grafts in reconstruction of the posterior eyelid lamella is well established, spontaneous conjunctival epithelialization on such grafts has yet to be fully proven. The aim of this study was to perform a comparative analysis of the influence of perichondrium on conjunctival epithelialization over conchal cartilage grafts used in eyelid reconstruction in rabbits. METHODS The posterior lamellae of 100 lower eyelids from 50 rabbits were reconstructed with autogenous grafts of conchal ear cartilage. In the right eyelids, cartilage was grafted with the perichondrium in direct contact with the eyeball, and the left eyelids were reconstructed in a similar manner but using cartilage grafts without perichondrium. The animals were killed after 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 weeks, and their lower eyelids were analyzed macroscopically and histologically. RESULTS The percentage difference in conjunctival epithelialization on the cartilage with perichondrium and that without perichondrium was 11.41 percent in the first week of the experiment, 13.64 percent in the second week, 18.69 percent in the third week, 10.38 percent in the fourth week, and 6.17 percent in the fifth week. The average percentage conjunctival epithelialization in the eyelids reconstructed with a cartilage graft with perichondrium was significantly higher throughout the 5 weeks of the experiment than in the eyelids reconstructed with cartilage without perichondrium (p < 0.0002). CONCLUSION It was found that the perichondrium had an important role in conjunctival epithelialization in eyelids reconstructed with a cartilage graft in the present study.