It is the transparent part of the eye, but for scientists, its origin was anything but clear. Now researchers have pinpointed why the cornea, the thin covering that allows light into the eye, is completely see-through. The discovery could lead to potential cures for eye disease and possibly even cancer. Unlike almost every other part of the body, the cornea has no blood vessels and therefore no color. While that much was known, scientists couldn’t figure out how the body kept blood vessels from growing there. The new research shows the area harbors large stores of a protein that binds to growth factors, material the body produces to stimulate blood vessel formation. The protein forms a sort of lock on the growth factors, so no blood vessels are produced, leaving the area totally colorless. Inside the Eye ‘Drugs designed to manipulate the levels of this protein could heal corneas that have undergone severe trauma or help shrink tumors fed by rapidly growing abnormal blood vessels,’ said Reza Dana, head of the Cornea Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. ‘In fact, the next step in […]

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