Up until last year, it was widely believed that the human cornea was made up of five individual layers of tissue, each with a separate function.
That was until Professor Dua at the University of Nottingham, discovered a new layer in the cornea located between the corneal stroma and Descemet’s membrane.
Dubbed Dua’s layer, this very thin but extremely tough film of tissue is comprised of thin fibres of collagen.
More recently Professor Dua has drawn a link between this new sixth layer of the cornea and the development of glaucoma in the eye.
The new layer in the cornea is now thought to play a pivotal role in how well the eye drains away fluid so that intraocular pressure remains stable.
Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by a build-up of fluid pressure within the eye.
When there is too much intraocular pressure, it can damage the optic nerve responsible for transporting images from the retina to the brain so a person can see.
If left untreated the optic nerve can become irreparably damaged by glaucoma, and result in partial or total vision loss.
Glaucoma is a highly treatable condition if it is detected early, but the challenge with glaucoma can be diagnosing it in time.
Open-angle glaucoma is the more common form of the disease that causes a gradual loss in peripheral vision. If left untreated, central vision will eventually be lost too.
Closed-angle glaucoma usually presents with severe eye pain, blurred vision and problems with vision in areas of low lighting.
Often with glaucoma by the time symptoms present, the disease has already begun to affect the optic nerve, which is why yearly visits to the optician are vital as glaucoma can be easily identified during a routine eye test.
Once the condition has been diagnosed, the type of treatment will depend on the type of glaucoma and how advanced it is in the eye.
Medications such as eye drops can be used if glaucoma is diagnosed early, or surgery may be required to relieve eye pressure if the condition is advanced.
Regular eye check-ups are recommended and if you notice any changes in your vision, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for laser eye surgery to address a refractive error and eliminate reliance on corrective eyewear, call Optilase to find the clinic nearest you on 08000 121 565.