The cornea consists of a number of layers that have been identified by scientists. Changes in these layers are indicative of Fuchs’. There is some evidence showing that the likelihood of the onset of Fuchs' can be significantly reduced through lifestyle choices and nutrients. Researchers have determined that free radicals in the cornea may contribute to Fuchs'.
The following layers of tissue have been identified, each with unique functions.
Epithelium layer is filled with thousands of tiny nerve endings that make the cornea extremely sensitive to pain. Its function is to block foreign material, while providing a nutrient-absorbing, oxygen-absorbing surface, and signaling the brain to activate tear production.
Bowman's layer contains collagen fibers that maintain the cornea's shape.
The thin Dua's layer, recently discovered, is the sixth layer in the cornea. It is located at the back of the cornea between the stroma and Descemet’s membrane. This layer is thought to play a vital role in the structure of the tissue that controls the flow of fluid from the eye. New research indicates that this makes an important contribution to the sieve-like meshwork—the trabecular meshwork (TM)—in the periphery of the cornea. A poor functioning trabecular meshwork can lead to glaucoma.
Stroma layer consists of regularly arranged collagen fibers along with sparsely distributed interconnected keratocytes, which are the cells for general repair and maintenance.
Descemet's membrane is a base layer for the growth of endothelium cells.
Endothelium is a single layer of cells that pumps excess water out of the stroma.
The cornea plays several essential roles, both for protecting the eye and for beginning the focusing process.
- It helps to shield the rest of the eye from germs, dust, and other harmful matter. The cornea shares this protective task with the eyelids, the eye socket, tears, and the white part of the eye (sclera).
The cornea acts as the eye’s outermost lens. It functions like a window and is part of the system that controls and focuses light entering the eye, directing light to accurately land on the retina. The cornea contributes 65–75% of the eye’s total focusing power.
It alerts the brain to signal the tear-related glands as to when more tears need to be produced or not.
Related diseases: Fuch's Dystrophy.