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W G Bachman, G Wilson; Essential ions for maintenance of the corneal epithelial surface.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1985;26(11):1484-1488.
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It is generally believed that tears are required to furnish only oxygen to the corneal epithelium. However, as tears are a very complicated solution, it is likely that other factors are essential to the cells of the corneal surface. The amount of light scattered from the epithelial surface of the excised rabbit cornea was examined with the in vitro specular microscope while the epithelium was bathed in different solutions. It was shown that the epithelial surface was maintained best with a buffered solution containing potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate and bicarbonate, in addition to sodium chloride. The solution was named Basic Tear Solution (BTS). The effect was not due to osmolarity. Potassium was particularly important, as corneas bathed with sodium chloride and potassium chloride were maintained better than corneas bathed with sodium chloride only. The appearance of the epithelial surface was different in these bathing solutions. In sodium chloride the surface scattered more light and more cells were sloughed. Least light was scattered in BTS, and cell-sloughing was at a minimum. Thus, the rate at which cells were sloughed from the epithelial surface and the quality of the surface were dependent on the bathing solution.
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