The architecture of the cornea and structural basis of its transparency.

Carlo Knupp, Christian Pinali, Philip Lewis, Geraint Parfitt, Robert Young, Keith Meek, Andrew Quantock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The cornea is the transparent connective tissue window at the front of the eye. In the extracellular matrix of the corneal stroma, hybrid type I/V collagen fibrils are remarkably uniform in diameter at approximately 30 nm and are regularly arranged into a pseudolattice. Fibrils are believed to be kept at defined distances by the influence of proteoglycans. Light entering the cornea is scattered by the collagen fibrils, but their spatial distribution is such that the scattered light interferes destructively in all directions except from the forward direction. In this way, light travels forward through the cornea to reach the retina. In this chapter, we will review the macromolecular components of the corneal stroma, the way they are organized into a stacked lamellar array, and how this organization guarantees corneal transparency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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