A funny thing happened in the field of anatomy during the first half of this year. Researchers found a previously unknown human body part. It’s inside the eyeball, and it’s very small. At 15 microns thick, the newly discovered layer of material is so small that even calling it a new body part feels inappropriate. That’s what it is though. A new body part. Right there in your eye.
Named for Harminder Dua, the ophthalmology professor who made the discovery, the Dua layer is one of six known layers of the cornea. (The cornea is the transparent lens in the front of your eyeball that focuses light going in towards your brain.) Now that we know about this additional layer, researchers say that doctors will be better able to diagnose and treat certain conditions, especially injuries to the cornea. The discovery will also make corneal transplants easier. Said Dua, humbly, “This is a major discovery that will mean that ophthalmology textbooks will literally need to be re-written.”
So keep that in mind, med school hopefuls. Your books will not only be expensive, they’ll be incomplete. And, yes, you should have taken that year off to go backpacking around South America, because who knows how many new body parts will be discovered in the second half of this year! [Ophthalmology via PopSci]