New Eye Layer Discovered: Dua’s Layer

dua's layerThis newly discovered anatomical structure is named for its discoverer, researcher Dr. Harminder Dua of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Nottingham in the UK. Dua stated that this major discovery will not only cause ophthalmology textbooks to be rewritten, but that this new knowledge will also make eye operations safer and simpler.

The cornea is known as the “clear window” of the eye. Dua’s Layer is a thin but tough structure, near the cornea’s bottom layer. Dua and his colleagues used a specialized technique while dissecting eyes to make this discovery. Previously, science had identified only five layers of the cornea. Dua found the new layer between the corneal stroma (the middle of the cornea) and Descemet’s membrane (the second-to-bottom layer of the cornea).

Dua’s team completed their research through corneal transplants and grafts on eyes donated for research. They used tiny air bubbles to separate the different layers of the cornea, and scanned each using an electron microscope.

Dua said that this was an unusual find, because most human anatomy had been “sorted out long, long ago.”

In his research, Professor Dua says that from a clinical perspective, “There are many diseases which affect the back of the cornea,” where the Dua’s Layer is found. “Clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer.”

Diseases of the cornea include keratitis, Fuchs’ Dystrophy, and Lattice Dystrophy.

The researcher said in a statement, “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.” Dua added that, “There’s a lot we did not previously understand, which all falls into place because of this discovery.”