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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1982 Jul;23(1):50-63.

Scanning electron microscopy of rabbit corneal scars.


Central full-thickness perforating excision wounds were made in rabbit corneas and were examined by light and scanning electron microscopy at various times after wounding to study the three-dimensional morphologic changes in the tissue during healing and remodeling. Formation of a fibrin clot soon after wounding seals the hole and functions as a substrate for the healing epithelium. Changes in the histologic appearance of the fibrin lot immediately below the new epithelium are followed by migration of adjacent stromal cells under the epithelium, parallel to the basal surface of this tissue. Further healing is characterized by the organization of stromal fibroblasts into several layers parallel to the corneal surface and the deposition of collagen as a matted meshwork of fibrils tangential to the cell surface. Although remodeling of the collagenous matrix of corneal scar is evident and the scar eventually appears less opaque, the lamellae of the scar are narrower and shorter than normal. Evidence from this and other studies suggests that the orientation of the fibroblasts in healing tissues is determined by the organization of the newly formed epithelium. Furthermore, our observations are consistent with the hypothesis that collagen fibrils are deposited parallel to the flat surface of the fibroblasts during scar formation. Subsequent reorganization of this collagenous matrix approaches the normal lamellar appearance, but the matrix fails to regenerate even after 2 years.

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