Bioscience Technology opens our eyes to the groundbreaking researchers who have discovered a whole new layer of the human cornea:
The new layer has been dubbed the Dua’s Layer after the academic Professor Harminder Dua [of the University of Nottingham], who made the discovery.
“This is a major discovery that will mean that ophthalmology textbooks will literally need to be re-written. Having identified this new and distinct layer deep in the tissue of the cornea, we can now exploit its presence to make operations much safer and simpler for patients,” says Dua, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences. “From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer.”
The new layer that has been discovered is located at the back of the cornea between the corneal stroma and Descemet’s membrane. Although it is just 15 microns thick— the entire cornea is around 550 microns thick or 0.5mm— it is incredibly tough and is strong enough to be able to withstand one and a half to two bars of pressure.
The scientists proved the existence of the layer by simulating human corneal transplants and grafts on eyes donated for research purposes to eye banks located in Bristol and Manchester.
During this surgery, tiny bubbles of air were injected into the cornea to gently separate the different layers. The scientists then subjected the separated layers to electron microscopy, allowing them to study them at many thousand times their actual size.