Patients often tell us that at each visit we unveil some new exciting gadget or piece of technology for investigating the health of their eyes. It seems like that to us too! In this ever changing tecnhological world though, where our tools to image your eyes are constantly improving, what doesn’t usually change is our understanding of the structure of the eye……until now…
The transparent cornea at the front of the eye is merely 0.5mm thick , and has always been understood to have five distict layers. When you put your chin on the slit lamp during your consultation we can identify these separate layers which provides vital information as to the severity of your eye condition. However Prof Harminder Dua of Nottingham university has discovered a new layer in the cornea. At only 0.001mm thick the layer was discovered by experimentation on human eyes donated to research banks.
The implication of this discovering could be very important for corneal surgery and the understanding of eye conditions such as acute hydrops, descemeteocele and some corneal dystrophies effecting the deeper layers of the cornea.
During corneal surgery tiny air bubbles are injected into the corneal stroma. If these bubbles burst then damage is caused to the patients eye, but by injecting under the strong Duas layer we may reduce the risk of tearing and damage.
Prof Dua suggests that many of the eye conditions that we know to affect the back of the cornea could relate to the presence of this new found layer. Corneal hydrops is one such condition. It is a buildup of fluid in the cornea that is common in patients with keratoconus and might be caused by a tear in Dua’s layer.