Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Charlotte Greene, PhD

Second Advisor

Richard Kriebel, PhD

Third Advisor

Michael McGuinness, PhD


Corneal injuries blind approximately 15 million people worldwide annually. Current methods of treatment have several disadvantages with respect to cost and availability. This study evaluated a small intestine submucosa (SIS) xenograft treatment for a severe corneal injury. SIS could be a favorable alternative to the current treatment methods, because it is inexpensive to produce and abundant where pigs are consumed. A severe ocular injury was created in the right eye of 5 rabbits by n-heptanol and mechanical debridement of the cornea and limbus. The cornea was then evaluated with fluorescence stain and a SIS xenograft was used for treatment. Clinical evaluations were made 14 days post-operatively and graded as a success if the corneal surface appeared smooth and avascular, or graded as a failure if the corneal surface demonstrated revascularization or irregularity. Histological evaluation of the cornea was done after 14 days and graded as a success if corneal epithelium was present without conjunctival epithelium, or graded as a failure if conjunctival epithelium was present. Clinical evaluations showed smooth and avascular corneal surfaces in all 5 injured eyes. Histological evaluation of the corneas demonstrated corneal epithelium without conjunctival tissue. All 5injured corneas resurfaced with corneal type epithelium This pilot study concluded that a SIS graft can be used to treat severe corneal injures.