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5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Cornea

The front of the eye contains a clear “window” of tissue called the cornea. Your cornea is responsible for protecting the surface of the eye, keeping dirt and germs out. It also plays a large role in helping the eye focus. The team at Mittleman Eye discusses some other interesting facts about the cornea.

1.The Cornea Has No Blood Vessels

Transparency is critical to clear vision. The cornea contains no blood vessels or lymphatic vessels. It is the only part of the body without a blood supply. Instead, it receives nutrients via aqueous humor (the liquid between the cornea and vitreous).

2. The Cornea Has Five Layers

There are five layers to the cornea:

  • Epithelium – The cornea’s outer layer is charged with keeping material out of the eye. It also absorbs nutrients and oxygen from tears.
  • Bowman’s layer – A thin layer connecting the epithelium and the stroma.
  • Stroma – The thickest of the layers, the elastic stroma provides the cornea with a domed shape.
  • Descemet’s membrane – A thin layer separating the stroma from the endothelium.
  • Endothelium – This layer of cells serves as a pump for any fluid in the eye that the stroma cannot absorb. Otherwise, the stroma would become waterlogged.

3. Minor Injuries Heal Quickly

In healthy corneas, minor injuries heal quickly, usually within 24 to 36 hours. The cornea heals faster than any other part of the body. Along with minor injuries, the cornea can also quickly recover from infections. When the cornea is in the process of healing from an injury, you may experience some discomfort and other symptoms. These include the following:

  • Tearing
  • Blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity

While the cornea can self-repair in many instances, that’s not the case when a major issue occurs. Contact an eye doctor if any of these symptoms occur, as it could indicate a serious condition.

4. Corneal Transplants From Animals

Although transplants always use human corneas, the demand is greater than the supply. Scientists are studying whether xenotransplantation, or the transplantation of the corneas of another species into the human eye, can fill this gap. To date, transplants of genetically engineered pig corneas into non-human primates have shown promise. It is possible such transplants will be used in humans in the near future.

5. The Cornea Can Filter UV Light

The cornea is capable of filtering out some of the dangerous ultraviolet rays that can harm eyesight. That doesn’t mean giving up protective sunglasses, but it is one more example of the cornea’s amazing abilities.

Contact Mittleman Eye

Diseases of the cornea include dry eye, keratitis, ocular herpes and many more. Schedule regular eye exams so certain issues are caught early on. If you have symptoms, get in touch with Mittleman Eye right away. Patients who wish to make an appointment can schedule one directly online or call or text (561) 500-2020.