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Three-dimensional arrangement of elastic fibers in the human corneal stroma

Lewis, Philip, White, Tomas, Young, Robert David, Bell, James Stephen, Winlove, C. Peter and Meek, Keith Michael Andrew 2016. Three-dimensional arrangement of elastic fibers in the human corneal stroma. Experimental Eye Research 146 , pp. 43-53. 10.1016/j.exer.2015.12.006

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Abstract

The cornea is the main refracting lens in the eye. As part of the outer tunic it has to be resilient, a property conferred by the organisation of the constituent collagen. It also has to be sufficiently elastic to regain its exact shape when deformed, in order not to distort the retinal image. The basis of this elasticity is not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to characterise in three dimensions the arrangement and distribution of elastic fibers in the human corneal stroma, using serial block face scanning electron microscopy. We have demonstrated that there exists a complex network of elastic fibers that appear to originate in the sclera or limbus. These appear as elastic sheets in the limbus and peripheral cornea immediately above the trabecular meshwork which itself appears to extend above Descemet's membrane in the peripheral stroma. From these sheets, elastic fibers extend into the cornea; moving centrally they bifurcate and trifurcate into narrower fibers and are concentrated in the posterior stroma immediately above Descemet's membrane. We contend that elastic sheets will play an important role in the biomechanical deformation and recovery of the peripheral cornea. The network may also have practical implications for understanding the structural basis behind a number of corneal surgeries.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0014-4835
Funders: Medical Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 10 December 2015
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 12:35
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/84453

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