April 2014
Volume 55, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2014
Why doesn't the cornea freeze?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jon Klokk Slettedal
    Ophthalmology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
    University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • Amund Ringvold
    Ophthalmology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
    University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Jon Slettedal, None; Amund Ringvold, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2014, Vol.55, 1505. doi:
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      Jon Klokk Slettedal, Amund Ringvold; Why doesn't the cornea freeze?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):1505.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: To measure the temperature of the corneal surface at different ambient temperatures. In contrast to various other external body parts, the corneas does not seem prone to frost bite.

Methods: An infrared thermocamera was used to measure the temperature of the corneal surface in voluntary persons and in an experimental setting with the use of donor corneas and an artificial anterior chamber with infusion of saline at 37°C. Ambient temperature and humidity were recorded. Liquid nitrogen was used to obtain very low temperatures in experiments and a sauna was used for measurements in high ambient temperature.

Results: Mean corneal surface temperature in healthy persons was measured to 28.6, 29.4, 34.7 and 40.4 at ambient temperature of -11, 3, 22 and 83°C respectively. In the experimental setting the corneal surface temperature was 23.3, 37.0 and 36.9 at ambient temperature of -40, 0 and 24°C.

Conclusions: Aqueous humor at 37°C in the anterior chamber of the eye and corneal tissue with high thermal conductivity appear to keep the surface temperature of the cornea within a limited range and to protect against thermal injury.

Keywords: 480 cornea: basic science  

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