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Collagen fibrils appear more closely packed in the prepupillary cornea: Optical and biomechanical implications

Boote, Craig ORCID:, Dennis, Sally, Newton, Richard Hugh, Puri, Hina and Meek, Keith Michael Andrew ORCID: 2003. Collagen fibrils appear more closely packed in the prepupillary cornea: Optical and biomechanical implications. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 44 (7) , pp. 2941-2948. 10.1167/iovs.03-0131

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PURPOSE. The size and organization of stromal collagen fibrils influence the biomechanical and optical properties of the cornea and hence its function. How fibrillar structure varies with position across the cornea has not been fully characterized. The present study was designed to quantify the collagen fibril spacing and diameter across the normal human cornea and to relate this to the properties of the tissue. METHODS. Small-angle x-ray diffraction was used to map in detail the variation in fibril spacing and fibril diameter along orthogonal medial–lateral and inferior–superior meridians of five normal human corneoscleral discs. RESULTS. Mean fibril diameters remained constant across all corneas up to the limbus, whereupon a sharp increase was observed. However, mean fibril spacing across the central 4 x 3 mm (prepupillary) cornea measured 5% to 7% lower than in the peripheral cornea. CONCLUSIONS. Collagen fibrils in the prepupillary cornea appear to be more closely packed than in the peripheral cornea. Anisotropy in fibril packing across the cornea has potential implications for the transparency and refractive index of the tissue. Biomechanically, it is possible that the higher packing density of stress-bearing collagen fibrils in the prepupillary cornea is necessary for maintaining corneal strength, and hence curvature, in a region of reduced tissue thickness. By inference, these results could have important implications for the development of corneal models for refractive surgery.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Additional Information: Confirmation received by publisher on 21 February 2014 that publisher's pdf can be self-archived 6 months after publication.
Publisher: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
ISSN: 0146-0404
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 19:11

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