James E. Hayden
Iris, Ciliary Body and Lens in Canine Eye, 2000

Photomicrograph; magnification approximately x7 at capture; FXA Nikon photomicroscope; Kodak EPY transparency film

The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Pathologists routinely examine sections cut from a variety of specimen types to help identify normal morphology as well as pathological conditions in diseased tissues. This section through a normal dog’s eye was stained with hematoxylin and eosin as part of a common staining procedure, which demonstrates remarkable preservation of structures in the eye that are difficult to maintain as an intact sample. The overall composition has an uncanny resemblance to an aquatic bird. The “head” and “neck” of the bird make up part of the iris, the ciliary body (small muscles that pull the iris open) are seen as the “wing,” and the lens appears as a large “moon” at the top left. Visual enhancement of the image was achieved by using darkfield microscopy, which reverses the background from white to black and modifies the colors in the specimen. To complete the illusion, a small bit of blue color was introduced into the light path to add blue to the sclera, or “white” of the eye, creating the look of water along the bottom of the image.

To email this contributor, click on the following email address: