Corneal Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis

  • Felix Bock
  • Claus CursiefenEmail author


Due to several corneal diseases [1] (Table 21.1) and after surgery [2], blood and lymphatic vessels can grow into the normally avascular cornea. This neovascularization starts for both blood and lymphatic vessels at the limbal vascular plexus. Blood vessels impair significantly the visual function of the cornea due to opacification by blood vessels themselves but also by secondary effects such as oedema and lipid keratopathy in the corneal stroma. Lymphangiogenesis in contrast is visually not disturbing, but a key risk factor for immune reactions after corneal transplantation [3]. Hem- and lymphangiogenesis do not only occur as a consequence of diseases but can also be the reason for infectious or inflammatory corneal diseases. Both hem- and lymphangiogenesis are an essential part of the worldwide most frequent reasons for corneal blindness (trachoma) [4] and the most frequent reason for infectious blindness – herpetic keratitis – in the western civilization [5].


Angiogenesis Lymphangiogenesis Corneal transplantation Corneal immune privilege Corneal angiogenic privilege Neovascularization Regression Crosslinking Fine needle diathermy Vascular endothelial growth factor 



We appreciate support from DFG Research Unit FOR2240 (, EU Arrest Blindness ( and EU Cost Action Biocornea (


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cologne, Department of OphthalmologyCologneGermany

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