Corneal Epithelium

The corneal epithelium is a thin layer of fast-growing and easily regenerated tissue kept moist by tears. The epithelium absorbs oxygen and cell nutrients from tears, and then distributes these nutrients to the rest of the cornea. The part of the epithelium that serves as the foundation on which the epithelial cells anchor and organize themselves is called the basal membrane. The Bowman’s membrane is a transparent sheet of tissue composed of strong, layered protein fibers called collagen. The corneal stroma accounts for 90% of the cornea’s thickness, consisting primarily of water (78%) and collagen (16%). Collagen gives the cornea its strength, elasticity and form. The collagen’s unique shape, arrangement and spacing are essential in making the cornea transparent. The Descemet’s membrane is a thin, strong sheet of tissue that serves as a protective barrier against infection and injuries.