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organ of vision and light perception. In humans the eye is of the camera type, with an iris diaphragm and variable focusing, or accommodation. Other types of eye are the simple eye, found in many invertebrates, and the compound eye, found in insects and many other
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the anterior transparent part of the outer tunic of the eye that is part of the eye’s light-refracting apparatus and protects the eye from injury and dust.
There are five layers in the cornea: the anterior epithelium, the anterior limiting membrane (Bowman’s membrane), the substantia propria (connective-tissue stroma), the posterior, or Descemet’s, membrane, and the endothelium of the anterior chamber. Corneal epithelium is multilayered—in man it is composed of eight to ten layers with a total thickness reaching 50 micrometers. It is lined with Bowman’s membrane, which is an acellular part of the postepithelial stroma consisting of a network of collagenous fibers that run in various directions parallel to the surface of the cornea.
A membrane without a distinct boundary becomes the substantia propria of the cornea. In man the substantia propria occupies as much as 90 percent of the entire thickness of the cornea. It is solidly packed with collagenous fibers that are produced by fibroblasts; the intercellular matter of this layer contains mucopolysaccharides, chondroitin sulfate, chondroitin, and keratosulfate. The transparency of the cornea depends on the degree of dehydration and orderliness of the molecules of the acellular portion of the cornea’s basic matter.
Descemet’s membrane lines the basic matter of the cornea and is tough and elastic; its posterior surface is covered by the single-layered endothelium of the anterior chamber of the eye.
There are no blood vessels in corneal tissues. In man the cornea is innervated by 70–80 radial nerve trunks that originate in the optical branch of the fifth pair of cranial nerves; the branching of the trunks penetrates the entire thickness of the cornea, except Descemet’s membrane and the endothelium.
The most common diseases of the cornea include traumas, blennorrhea, keratitis, and staphyloma.
O. G. STROEVA