A numerical test of the normal incidence uniaxial model of corneal birefringence

D. J. Donohue, B. J. Stoyanov, R. L. McCally, R. A. Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


  • Birefringence
  • Lamella
  • Polarized light transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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