Dua’s Layer, A New Discovery in the Human Eye

Scientist and physicians have discovered everything there is to know about the body, right? Wrong!

We only have hypotheses about how most of the human anatomy works.  This makes the practice of being a Doctor quite tricky. As technology advances we are able to see smaller and smaller aspects which comprise our human bodies and this helps us understand the physiology. Recently new research has brought us one step closer to understanding the human eye.  Dr. Harminder Dua, a Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Nottingham, has discovered a sixth layer to the cornea, appropriately named, Dua’s layer.

cornea layersThe cornea is the clear part of the front of your eye.  It allows light to pass through the eye to the retina, located at the back of your eye, which constitutes sight.  Until recently, the cornea has been thought to be made up of 5 layers.  The epithelium, the front most part of the eye bathed in our tears.  Bowman’s layer, lying just behind the epithelium, provides support.  The stroma, which comprises a majority of the cornea, offers strength and resilience.

Next, behind the stroma, lies Descemet’s membrane, which separates the stroma from the endothelium. Lastly, the endothelium helps keep the right amount of water in the cornea.  Now, the entire thickness of the cornea is on average 550 microns, which in lay terms is about half of a millimeter.  That is very thin!  Approximately 5 pieces of printer paper stacked on top of each other.

Dua’s layer, fits snuggly between Descemet’s layer and the endothelium, coming in at only 15 microns thick.  This new layer is thin and very resilient, and possibly contributes to some problems that occur after cataract surgery.

The picture below was taken at the UIW Eye Institute in San Antonio, TX.  It shows a section of the cornea, so we can evaluate its thickness and curvature.


This is just one aspect of optometry that makes it a challenging but rewarding career.  As new research is released optometrist have to learn and incorporate these findings into their practice to provide the highest level of patient care.  Never stop at what your professors say or what your books read, there is always something more to learn or discover!

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Andrew Yoder

I am a 3rd year intern at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry. I was home grown in Dyersville, IA. I have a brother and sister, of which I am the youngest. My hobbies include playing ultimate frisbee, basketball, tennis, and anything else my friends want to play, and jamming out on my guitar.

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Neda Esmaeili

Neda Esmaeili
Neda Esmaeili

Hi! My name is Neda Esmaeili and I am a student in the class of 2015 at the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry.

I graduated from the University of Houston with a BBA in business management and a minor in biology. I have known I wanted to be an optometrist since I was in middle school and my sister had a severe traumatic injury to her eye that almost left her blind! She is perfectly fine now but seeing how optometry saved her vision really affected my career choice.

However, at the beginning of my college education, I realized science was just not my thing and I became skeptical of the career path I was heading towards. Some time and soul searching later, I decided to stick with my original decision.

Not only was optometry something I wanted since I was young, it was also going to provide me with the lifestyle I had always imagined. More importantly, I am gaining the personal fulfillment of helping others and servicing my community. It honestly can’t get any better than that!

I chose UIWRSO for many reasons. In San Antonio I am far enough away from home to not be distracted by my friends and family in Houston, Texas but close enough to hop in the car and visit them when my schedule permits. I love the fact that our class size is small and we can all get to know our fellow classmates and people of other classes fairly well.

My undergrad was at a huge university and every little administrative process took forever which was really annoying and frustrating. At UIWRSO, everything is done in a quick and swift manner, which is a relief.

Also, being currently the only faith-based optometry school in the U.S. gave me a sense of security. It assured me that I would be surrounded by warm and inviting people who are in this profession as honest people for an honest living.  And so here I am to portray to you, through my eyes, the world that is UIWRSO and the family we have created! I hope you enjoy it :).