How the cornea heals: cornea-specific repair mechanisms affecting surgical outcomes

Cornea. 2005 Nov;24(8 Suppl):S2-S11. doi: 10.1097/01.ico.0000178743.06340.2c.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Cornea / physiopathology*
  • Cornea / surgery*
  • Epithelium, Corneal / pathology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / physiopathology
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Postoperative Period
  • Regeneration
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta2
  • Wound Healing*


  • TGFB2 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases