Mesenchyme not only surrounds the eye primordium from the outside but also invades the inside of the optic cup by way of the choroid fissure. Here it forms the hyaloid vessels, which during intrauterine life supply the lens and form the vascular layer on the inner surface of the retina (Fig. 17.7). In addition, it forms a delicate network of fibers between the lens and retina. The interstitial spaces of this network later fill with a transparent gelatinous substance, forming the vitreous body (Fig. 17.7). The hyaloid vessels in this region are obliterated and disappear during fetal life, leaving behind the hyaloid canal.
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