Corneal Anatomy And Disease
The corneal epithelium is the outermost layer of the cornea and is responsible for providing protection against injury and infection. The surface of the epithelium is very smooth and provides support for the tear film, which is what is irregular in patients with dry eyes. A Corneal Abrasion is a minor but very painful eye injury. When an abrasion occurs, the corneal epithelium is disrupted exposing underlying corneal nerves. However, the epithelial layer can heal in only a few hours making it one of the fastest healing parts of the body.
The corneal stroma makes up about 90% of the thickness of the cornea and is the bulk of the corneal tissue. It is clear and allows us a window to see out of the eye.
Descemet’s membrane is the scaffold that holds the endothelium in place. The endothelium contains the cells that pump fluid out of the cornea. FUCHS’ DYSTROPHY is a disease characterized by an unhealthy endothelium and, because these cells do not regenerate, this leads to swelling of the cornea and loss of clarity. DSAEK (Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty), is an advanced technique involving replacing only the back layers of the cornea, instead of full-thickness corneal transplant surgery.
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