The suggestion that the central cornea can be modeled as a uniaxial birefringent material with its optic axis normal to the surface is explicitly tested by numerical calculations. A theoretical framework is presented to model the corneal stroma as a series of stacked, uniaxial birefringent layers (lamellae). Calculations are then made of the transmission of normally incident, linearly polarized light through model systems having various azimuthal orientations of the layers, motivated by the suggestion of an overall 'random' organization of the stromal lamellae. It is concluded that the uniaxial description, and the assumptions upon which that description is based, do not hold for the cornea. In particular, the calculations are in agreement with recent experiments in which one always observes a non-zero cross-polarized transmission (hence birefringence) at normal incidence.
- Polarized light transmission
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