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Question: Name the layers of the cornea and their function.

Answer: You can actually devide the cornea into 5 layers, these include:

1. Epithelium Layer: This is the surface layer of cells. They provide barrier function and a smooth surface for the tear film.
2. Bowmans Layer: A tough layer of basement membrane right under the epithelium. This layer is tough, and keeps the cornea from swelling forward … which means when the cornea swells, it must do so backwards into the anterior chamber.
3. Stroma: composed of highly arranged collagen fibers and supporting keratocytes, the cornea stroma provides the majority of the cornea. Injuries at this level can scar.
4. Descemet’s Layer: An inner layer of basement membrane. This layer is important for the health of endothelial cells. One of the leading needs for cornea transplant is from a dystrophy of Descemet’s layer called Fuch’s dystrophy.
5. Endothelium: The Endothelium is a crucial layer as it works as a barrier and a pump that keeps the cornea from getting too wet.

Most of these layers are easy to remember: especially the epithelium, stroma, and endothelium. To help you remember the location of the other layers: remember that Descemet’s is Deep, while Bowman’s is up in the BellTower.



Comment by Bongeka Koto — April 7, 2009

Oh dear! It’s called the cornea, not retina!

Editors Note: Right you are! I’ve fixed that typo … Thanks for noticing!

Comment by Oops — May 7, 2009

just wanna ask my cornea is damage i have a blurry sight an optho clean it!! just wanna ask if cornea can heal itself!! il w8 ur ans in my email add ll10zai35ll@yahoo.com.ph thx

Comment by marc — August 10, 2009

dear, i required models or pictures of amino acids transporters in the cornea or in corneal layers..for teaching purposes can you provide me?

Comment by sachin — January 18, 2010

to remember…. EBCDE like ABCDE from the alphabet…for easily remembered…

Comment by Patchintero — January 30, 2010

remember ABCDE
A= sufcace epithelium
B= bowmans membrane

Comment by satish koirala — March 23, 2010

C= connective tissue Stroma
D= descemet’s membrane
E= endothelium………..

Comment by satish koirala — March 23, 2010

question- can bowmans layer regenerate if damaged?

Comment by john scott — February 28, 2011


Comment by DR.SYL. EDO — June 12, 2011

thanks very much, you information has worked much for mylevel

Comment by loku simaya — September 1, 2011

how to measure iop in hazy and abraded cornea in cases of chemical burns

Comment by vaishali — November 5, 2011

just like ABCDE…

Comment by kinzang — December 1, 2011

A very nice doc for studying & teaching. Thanks v.m !!

Comment by demelash — December 27, 2011

iop measurement in hazy,abraded cornea by non-contact air-puff tonometer.

Comment by asad — December 29, 2011


Comment by Dr Obechi — January 8, 2012

Very nice way of teaching..

Comment by madiha — August 27, 2012

Metabolically active layet of cornea?

Comment by sat — September 8, 2012

thank u….

Comment by elham — October 22, 2012

thnx keep the standard up

Comment by hitesh — December 6, 2012

It’s very informative…Thanks and God bless!

Comment by Jane M.L. — December 22, 2012

What are the regenerative layers of cornea..?

Comment by pravallika — March 7, 2013

endotheleum regenerative layer of cornea

Comment by sandy — March 12, 2013

Thnkz it’s vry nyc hav solved my problem

Comment by mrinali kachey — March 23, 2013

Is descement membrane regenerative

Comment by Kom — April 8, 2013

such a great site to learn easy

Comment by sana — June 17, 2013

There is another layer now known:
One of the commenters on the second page claims the layer was known previously, but not named.

Comment by David Bump — August 30, 2013

David, I’ve heard of the new layer but have been waiting to hear from my corneal docs whether it truly matters. The nice thing about anatomy (as a field of study) is that it tends to advance slowly.

As to whether we should “name” this as a “layer” is debatable. You could probably name lots of areas/intersections in the body … but it may just complicate understanding if it has no relevance.

For the purposes of this book/question, I’m going to leave it at five layers for now. Thanks for commenting and the links.

Comment by Timothy Root, M.D. — August 30, 2013

nice information.thank you Doctors

Comment by kikoti — April 28, 2014

As a nurse in an eye hospital, this Web site has given me more knowledge on layers of cornea and their functions.
Thanks very much.

Comment by Elizabeth — July 2, 2014

This web site has been very helpful. Thank you

Comment by tenzin choesang — January 9, 2015

Yeah .. But in some books stroma and endothelium is not written . I am confused

Comment by poonam — January 16, 2015

I was told I have small pits in the bottom layer around the cornea, but I can’t remember the name…is it Fuch’s Dystrophy? Thanks.

Comment by Cindy — July 1, 2015

Thanks for the teaching ,great keep it up.

Comment by Feimatabeatrice — July 19, 2015

Thnx for this teaching . I now understand the layers well by the diagram

Comment by Feimatabeatrice — July 19, 2015

and what about duas layer

Comment by hector — September 19, 2015

Thank you for these illustration

Comment by Dr. Qutaiba alrawi — March 15, 2016

Thank you very much. It’s so helpful for us, medical students.

Comment by zahoromedian — April 13, 2016

Is cornea is covered by conjunctiva ???

Comment by Milan Padhan — July 3, 2016

I recently have been dx with a very serious infection on my cornea. Lost sight for a week & more. Not totally regained but I am on the right path.
Thanks for the education….. helped me understand this condition much better! kepp up the good work.

Comment by Jo — December 14, 2016

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