Structure of the Cornea

The image shows the five components of the cornea.


The epithelium is composed of stratified squamous epithelium which is fast-growing and easily regenerated. It also contains large numbers of nerve endings which account for the extreme sensitivity of the cornea to touch.

Injury to the epithelium disrupts the air-tear film interface that is responsible for most of the refractive power of the eye, and thereby leads to reduction in visual acuity.

Bowman’s membrane

The epithelial basement (Bowman’s) membrane is composed of collagen fibres making it relatively tough and an anchor for epithelial cells when healing is occurring.


The stroma forms approximately 90% of the thickness of the cornea and is predominantly formed of collagen and water.

Descemet’s membrane

The relatively strong endothelial basement (Descemet’s) membrane forms a barrier to the inward spread of infection and injuries.


The endothelium’s main function is to regulate the leakage of aqueous humour from the anterior chamber into the stoma.