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Biophys J. 1998 Nov;75(5):2520-31.

A lattice model for computing the transmissivity of the cornea and sclera.

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Department of Physics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23284-2000, USA.


The method of photonic band structure is used to calculate the frequencies of light that propagate in lattice models of the cornea and sclera of the mammalian eye, providing an explanation for transparency in the cornea that first properly accounts for multiple scattering of light. Each eye tissue is modeled as an ordered array of collagen rods, and photonic band structure methods are used to solve Maxwell's equations exactly for these models, a procedure that automatically effectively includes all orders of multiple scattering. These calculations show that the dispersion relation for the cornea is linear in the visible range, implying that the cornea is transparent. We show that the transmissivity is approximately 97% by using an effective medium approximation derived from the photonic band structure results and applicable in the visible region. In contrast, the dispersion relation for the model in the sclera is not linear in the visible region, and there are band gaps in this region that could play an important role in the transmission of light in the sclera.

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