New corneal layer may have possible glaucoma link

Feb 22, 2014

A new layer in the human cornea-discovered by researchers at the University of Nottingham last year-has been found to play a vital role in the structure of the tissue that controls the flow of fluid from the eye.

 

Nottingham, England-A new layer in the human cornea-discovered by researchers at the University of Nottingham last year-has been found to play a vital role in the structure of the tissue that controls the flow of fluid from the eye.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, could shed new light on glaucoma.

The latest research shows that the new layer-dubbed Dua’s Layer after Harminder S. Dua, MD, PhD, who discovered it-makes an important contribution to the trabecular meshwork (TM) in the periphery of the cornea.

Defective drainage through the TM is an important cause of glaucoma.

“Many surgeons who perform lamellar corneal transplant recognize this layer as an important part of the surgical anatomy of the cornea,” said Dr. Dua, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, University of Nottingham, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, England. “This new finding . . . could have significance beyond corneal surgery.”

By examining human donor eyes using electron microscopy, the researchers were able to look at the new layer beyond the central part of the cornea to shed more light on its features at the extreme periphery of the cornea. They discovered that the collagen fibers of the new layer also branch out to form a meshwork and that the core of TM is in fact an extension of Dua’s Layer.

It is hoped the discovery will offer new clues on why the drainage system malfunctions in the eyes of some people, leading to high pressure.