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H Conn, M Berman, K Kenyon, R Langer, J Gage; Stromal vascularization prevents corneal ulceration.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1980;19(4):362-370.
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Experiments were performed with a model of focal, thermal-induced ulceration to test the clinical impression that vascularization prevents ulceration of the corneal stroma. Slow-release polymers containing a vasoproliferase agent (tumor angiogenesis factor) were placed in corneal pockets 2 mm central to the limbus of albino rabbits. These polymers elicited blood vessel ingrowth up to the implant. Control eyes received empty polymers which caused minimal to no vessel growth. Polymers were removed, and each cornea received a focal, thermal burn placed just central to the polymer site. All control corneas ulcerated: most (79%) developed deep stromal or perforating ulcers. Only 25% of prevascularized corneas developed stromal ulcers, and none was deep or perforating. After thermal burns, vessels in both groups grew at the same linear rate toward the burned area. There was a direct relationship between the distance separating the nearest blood vessel and the burned area at the time of burning and the maximum depth of stromal ulceration. Thus prevention of or less severe stromal ulceration is correlated with the earlier presence of vessels in the burned area.
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