Throw away your anatomy books, everyone, because they're now officially out of date. A professor at the University of Nottingham has discovered a layer in the human cornea that was previously unknown to science.
The discovery was made by Harminder Dua, and he's calling the new body part — conveniently enough — Dua's layer. We certainly don't begrudge him the name. When's the last time any of us discovered a completely new body part?
The layer, which is a scant 15 microns thick, rests at the back of the cornea. Previous to this study, only five layers had been identified. Dua's layer, also called pre-Descemet's layer, was discovered by injecting air into the corneas of eyes that had been donated to research. An electron microscope was then used to scan and identify each layer.
Fascinatingly, the discovery is already reaping benefits. Scientists now believe that deformities or tears in this layer cause corneal hydrops, a disorder that leads to fluid buildup in the cornea. The discovery could also result in new techniques to treat patients in need of corneal grafts and transplants.
Check out the entire study at the Ophthamology journal: "Human Corneal Anatomy Redefined."
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