Water movement was studied in vitro in rabbit corneas containing a single interlamellar plastic disc. These eyes were stored for three days at 1 °C with air, aqueous, or Tyrode's solution on one or both sides of the cornea and then subjected to temperature reversal. Evidence was presented to suggest that water moved out of the cornea across both the epithelium and the endothelium. Observations of the swelling properties of corneas with interlamellar discs indicate that fluid movement in the transverse plane at 39 °C is less than 0.02 × 10-3 mm/hr for a pressure gradient of 1.0 mm Hg/mm. The corneas of rabbit eyes which were stored for three days in a cold moist air chamber increased 103% in thickness. This swelling was reduced more than 50% if aqueous was replaced by air prior to refrigeration. Histologic examination revealed these corneas to be similar to those stored in the conventional cold moist air chamber, except that there was a marked decrease in the amount of stromal swelling with little or no alteration of the keratocytes. It was suggested that a relatively deturgesced cornea could be attained if the aqueous humor were replaced by air in human eyes which were stored in a cold moist air chamber prior to corneal transplant surgery.
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