Human sclera: thickness and surface area

Am J Ophthalmol. 1998 Feb;125(2):237-41. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(99)80096-8.


Purpose: To assess the mean thickness and surface area of human sclera.

Methods: Fifty-five formalin-fixed eye bank eyes were hemisected from anterior to posterior. Cross-sectional slides were taken to include a millimeter scale ruler in each photograph. Slide photographs were projected and the scleral silhouette sketched. Mean scleral thickness measurements with standard deviation were obtained. Twenty-five human eye bank eyes were used to determine total scleral surface area by either a computerized tracing method (17 globes) or volumetric calculations (eight globes) using fluid displacement.

Results: Mean scleral thickness +/- SD was 0.53 +/- 0.14 mm at the corneoscleral limbus, significantly decreasing to 0.39 +/- 0.17 mm near the equator, and increasing to 0.9 to 1.0 mm near the optic nerve. The mean total scleral surface area by surface area computerized tracings was 16.3 +/- 1.8 cm2 and, by the volume displacement method, was 17.0 +/- 1.5 cm2.

Conclusions: Scleral thickness and surface area measurements from cadaver eyes are important for ophthalmic surgeons and have implications for transscleral diffusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Surface Area
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Sclera / anatomy & histology*