A quantitative map of collagen fibril orientation across the human eyeball coat, including both the cornea and the sclera, has been obtained using a combination of synchrotron wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and three-dimensional point mapping. A macromolecular crystallography beamline, in a custom-modified fibre diffraction setup, was used to record the 1.6 nm intermolecular equatorial reflection from fibrillar collagen at 0.5 mm spatial resolution across a flat-mounted human eyeball coat. Fibril orientation, derived as an average measure of the tissue thickness, was quantified by extraction of the azimuthal distribution of WAXS scatter intensity. Vector plots of preferential fibre orientation were remapped onto an idealized eyeball surface using a custom-built numerical algorithm, to obtain a three-dimensional representation of the collagen fibril architecture.
Pijanka, J. K., Abass, A., Sorensen, T., Elsheikh, A., & Boote, C. (2013). A wide-angle X-ray fibre diffraction method for quantifying collagen orientation across large tissue areas: application to the human eyeball coat. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 46(5), 1481–1489. https://doi.org/10.1107/s0021889813022358