In eye-operations such as Lasik and Femto, the thickness of cornea is key decision factor whether the operation is feasible. A normal thickness is between 500-600 µm. Cornea consists of a very special tissue having no blood supply and no vessels so it gets nutrients through diffusion of tear fluid and oxygen directly from air (hence in a way, it has its own respiration system not dependent on lungs).

Now I started to think the following questions:

I. What determines the thickness of cornea?

Helper questions

II. Is the thickness of cornea determined genetically so twins have the same cornea thickness?

III. Is the thickness determined by the environment and psychological things? Eg. how does diving affect cornea? Look it cannot get oxygen anymore through the air with the mask. What about drying? Does cornea gets too much nutrients all of a sudden from eye fluids?

IV. Does Homo Sapiens have more this kind of independent tissues? What about other animials? What determines the thickness of Cornea there?

  • $\begingroup$ "What determines the thickness of cornea? " - As you mentioned the efficiency of diffusion is the main size limitation factor here. I don't know much about the topic btw. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


The corneal thickness is genetically programmed. There are multiple genes that induce the final corneal thickness:

USP37, Chromosome 2; GPR15, 3; TIPARP, 3; CWC27-ADAMTS6, 5; RXRACOL5A1, 9; LCN12-PTGDS, 9; FGF9-SGCG, 13;

and at least 6 other genes.


other questions had to be asked as separate ones


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