New Corneal Layer Discovered

8:32 AM

Here's a post for all the nerds out there:  Yesterday I got the news that what we thought we knew about the cornea (the clear layer of tissue located on the front of the eye) was actually all wrong.  Scientists have a discovered a new layer of corneal tissue, and since the cornea is where many ocular surgeries are performed, this new discovery could have a huge impact on the way we treat corneal diseases and procedures for corneal transplants.

Cornea with scarring from surgical procedures (via )
The new discovery of Dua's layer could help
surgeons target this strong tissue and hopefully
limit surgical complications.
Traditional thought had the cornea with 5 distinct layers: the epithelium, Bowman's layer, the stroma, Descemet's layer, and the endothelium.  Each layer is susceptible to particular corneal degenerative conditions, and these layers are routinely used as markers for the depth of incisions needed for surgeries.  The new layer, named Dua's layer after the scientist who discovered it, is located between the corneal stroma and Descemet's.  It
is remarkably thin -- only 15 microns in total!  But it is incredibly strong, able to withstand a large amount of pressure.  Due to its strength, surgical procedures may utilize this area in future as a location to guide laser incisions, preventing damage to weaker corneal layers. With a discovery this new, we have yet to realize the impact on applied science.  But we do know that a lot of textbooks will need to be rewritten!

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