The corneal epithelium has been shown1 to have an active metabolism that requires more oxygen than is provided by the aqueous humor and the limbal capillaries.2 Under normal conditions, the cornea utilizes atmospheric oxygen.3,4 Experimental limitation of this source of oxygen in the rabbit cornea has resulted in turbidity, swelling, and increased content of lactic acid and water.5,6 These same effects, produced in human subjects, rabbits, and guinea pigs by wearing contact lenses,6-8 are attributed to the interruption of the aerobic metabolism of the active epithelial cells upon which both epithelium and stroma appear dependent for energy for carbohydrate breakdown.9
A recently developed method for measuring lactic acid and oxidized pyridine nucleotides in the same extracts of tissue from the individual cornea10 has been used in this case to study the metabolism of the corneal epithelium and stroma of rabbits wearing contact lenses
MORLEY N, McCULLOCH C. Corneal Lactate and Pyridine Nucleotides (PNS) with Contact Lenses. Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;66(3):379–382. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.00960010381015
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