Indian ophthalmologist, Professor Harminder Dua, of Nottingham University has discovered a new part of the human eye. It is a layer of the cornea just 15 microns thick and is to be known as Dua’s layer.
The main practical benefit of the discovery would be to improve results in patients undergoing corneal grafts and transplants.
Dua says: "From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer."
Scientists formerly believed that the human cornea - the protective lens in front of the eye through which light enters the eye, encompassed five layers i.e. the corneal epithelium, Bowman's layer, the corneal stroma, Descemet's membrane and the corneal endothelium, in the front to back order.
Dua's layer is located towards the back of cornea, between the corneal stroma and the Descemet's membrane. While the entire cornea is around 550 microns thick (0.5mm), the new layer is just around 15 microns thick and has proved to be incredibly strong and tough which enables it to withstand about one and a half to two bars of pressure.
According to the scientists, corneal hydrops (bulging of cornea by fluid buildups) found in Keratonus patients are caused by a tear in the Dua's layer by which the water from inside the eye flows and results in water-logging.
The study has been published in the Academic Journal of Ophthalmology.