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How the Cornea Heals: Cornea-specific Repair Mechanisms Affecting Surgical Outcomes

Fini, M Elizabeth PhD; Stramer, Brian M PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.ico.0000178743.06340.2c
Invited Lectures: Article

In mammals, penetrating injuries typically heal by deposition of fibrotic “repair tissue” that fills and seals wounds but does not restore normal function. Excessive deposition of fibrotic repair tissue can lead to pathologies involving excessive scarring and contracture. In the cornea, fibrotic repair presents special challenges affecting both clarity and shape of the cornea. With the increasing popularity of surgical techniques that alter corneal refractive errors, understanding of cornea repair mechanisms has acquired new significance. The cornea has unique anatomic, cellular, molecular, and functional features that lead to important mechanistic differences in the process of repair in comparison with what occurs in skin and other organs. Moreover, corneal function calls for special outcomes. This review addresses these features from the viewpoint of the authors' research on factors of importance to understanding and improving surgical outcomes.

From the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.

Received for publication July 5, 2005.

Supported by grants from the National Eye Institute (EY09828, EY12651, and EY14801) and an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. Dr. Fini is a Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientific Investigator and holds the Walter G. Ross Chair in Ophthalmic Research.

Reprints: M. Elizabeth Fini, PhD, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, 1638 NW 10th Avenue, Miami, FL33136 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.