27.02.2014

Cornea "uses stem cells to repair itself"

Cornea "uses stem cells to repair itself"

The cornea makes use of stem cells to repair itself, a new study suggests.

Led by professor Yann Barrandon, who holds a joint appointment at two medical facilities in Switzerland, the research used mouse models to demonstrate everyday wear and tear on the cornea.

The scientists showed such damage is repaired from stem cells in the corneal epithelium - tissue made up of cells that line the cavities and surfaces of structures in the body.

In addition, they demonstrated that more serious repair jobs require the help of other stem cells, which migrate from the limbus - an area located between the cornea and the white section of the eye called the conjunctiva.

"The integrity of the cornea, the transparent outer layer of the eye, is critical for vision," the researchers concluded, noting the cornea is in a state of constant renewal, with the top layer being completely replaced once every seven to 14 days.

Research in the journal Ophthalmology suggested people who wear contact lenses should give their eyes a break every now and again as the cornea requires oxygen to stay healthy.

by Alexa Kaczka


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