Epithelium: The epithelium is an important barrier for foreign material, while at the same time allowing nutrients to enter the cornea. It is also connected to nerve endings, making it sensitive to pain.
Bowman’s layer: Directly beneath the epithelium, it is made up of a strong layer of fibrous tissue known as collagen.
Stroma: If your cornea were to be injured, this layer would protect it and form a scar as it heals. It is the thickest layer and is also made up of collagen and water. It not only provides protection, but also allows light to pass through its unique shape. LASIK and PRK procedures target this layer for vision correction.
Descemet’s membrane: Under the stroma is a membrane made of collagen that holds the stroma and endothelium together.
Endothelium: A thin layer that is constantly pumping fluid out of the stroma to keep the cornea clear and to prevent it from getting hazy. The cornea can recover from minor injuries because there are so many protective layers. However, if the endothelium is damaged, then a corneal transplant is required.