The refractive index of keratocyte cells and implications on the model of corneal transparency

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

The refractive index of keratocyte cells and implications on the model of corneal transparency

Event details

The cornea is the transparent window at the front of the eye, which is responsible not only for the majority of refraction of light that enters, but also the protection against damage, infection and mechanical stress. In the cornea, transparency has long been suspected to be caused by the precise arrangement of the fibrils of collagen that are contained within the central layer, the stroma, regulated by the sulphated proteoglycans that keep fibril spacing within acceptable boundaries. These models are consistent and give a complete description of the transparency of a stroma that is entirely acellular. However, it is well known that the stroma is not acellular, and that the short-range order that is critical for transparency would necessarily be disturbed by the cells of the stroma, the keratocytes. 

To explain this discrepancy, it has been hypothesised that keratocytes modify their refractive index to match their surroundings and minimise their light scattering. This talk will present attempts to measure this refractive index in vitro, and the use of that information to produce values for the expected transmission of light through the stroma.

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

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