Abstract

A model of the cornea’s lamellar structure is proposed that is capable of explaining experimental results obtained for the transmission of normal-incidence polarized light through rabbit and bovine cornea. The model consists of a large number of planar lamellae, each approximated as a uniaxial birefringent layer, stacked one upon another with various angular orientations. Polarized light transmission through the composite system is modeled theoretically by use of the Jones matrix formalism. The light transmission is calculated numerically for a large number of model lamellae arrangements, each generated from a statistical description, and histograms are constructed of various properties of the light transmission, including the minimum and maximum cross-polarized output intensities. It is demonstrated that various structural and optical parameters of the lamellae arrangements of actual corneas may be estimated by comparison of the calculations with detailed experimental data. Certain characteristics of the histograms are identified that permit a clear distinction between random and partially ordered systems. Comparisons with previously published experimental data provide strong evidence that the lamellae orientations are not entirely random, but rather a significant fraction are oriented in a fixed, preferred direction.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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