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Biophys J. 1998 Nov;75(5):2508-12.

The integration of the corneal and limbal fibrils in the human eye.

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The Oxford Research Unit, The Open University, Oxford OX1 5HR, United Kingdom.


The precise orientation of the collagen fibrils in human cornea and sclera and the method by which these two areas fuse together at the limbus have never been determined, despite the importance of this information. From a consideration of the mechanics of the system, fibril orientation in the tissue has the potential to affect the curvature of the cornea so, by inference, refractive problems such as astigmatism involving an incorrect curvature of the cornea may be related to fibril orientation. The high intensity and small beam size of a synchrotron x-ray source has enabled us to study fibril orientation in post-mortem human cornea and sclera. Previously we have revealed two preferred directions of orientation in the cornea (Meek, K. M., T. Blamires, G. F. Elliot, T. Y. Gyi, and C. J. Nave. 1987. Curr. Eye Res. 6:841-846) and a circumcorneal annulus in the limbus (Newton, R. H., and K. M. Meek. 1998. Invest. Ophthalmol. & Visual Sci. 39: 1125-1134). Here we present the results of our investigation into the relationship between these two features. Our measurements indicate that the corneal fibrils oriented in the two preferred directions bend at the limbus to run circumferentially. On the basis of these results we propose a model as to how the human cornea and sclera fuse together.

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