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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UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry teams with NISD to provide Eye Examinations to Students

NISD students get help picking out their new glasses from UIW RSO staff.
NISD students get help picking out their new glasses from UIW RSO staff.

San Antonio – On Monday, April 29 and Wednesday, May 1, UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO) teamed up with Northside Independent School District (NISD) to provide free eye exams to 60 pre-selected students between the ages of 5 and 9 years who failed their school vision screenings.  These children either did not have vision insurance or the ability to pay for comprehensive eye care. UIWRSO optometry students, under the direction of UIWRSO clinic faculty, provided free eye examinations and the Essilor Vision Foundation provided free frames and lenses.

The students arrived in two groups and quickly made their way through the examination process.  The students were just a little nervous as this was the first eye exam for many of them.  Once they completed the exam they were able to pick out their new glasses.

“This affiliation between the UIWRSO, the NISD, and the Essilor Vision Foundation has made a significant impact in the quality of life of 120 children living in San Antonio. We look forward to conducting examination days at least one day a month in the future. I expect that these examination days to provide the underserved children of San Antonio well over $100,000 worth of free eye care, spectacles, and other forms of treatment annually. Not only does this improve the quality of life of the children receiving the care, we hope that the resultant clear and comfortable vision will improve their performance in school which ultimately provides dividends to the entire community. The UIWRSO is committed to serving the San Antonio community and it is an important value that we instill in all of our students and interns,” said Dr. James Chapman, UIWRSO clinic director.

UIWRSO, NISD, and the Essilor Vision Foundation have formed an affiliation to identify NISD students who require vision care, provide the professional examinations, and then to provide treatment through glasses or whatever modality that is best for the patient.

The UIW Eye Institute is one of seven patient care clinics operated by the Rosenberg School of Optometry. It provides specialty care in its Adult Care, Contact Lens, Ocular Disease, Pediatric, Low Vision, and Vision Therapy Services.  UIWRSO administers a four-year graduate program following a four-year undergraduate degree leading to the Doctor of Optometry degree.


Margaret Garcia
Associate Director of Public Relations
University of the Incarnate Word
Office: (210) 805-3689