Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) staining was performed as previously described11. Briefly, sections of each eyeball were subjected to TUNEL fluorescein staining using an In Situ Cell Death Detection Kit (Roche Diagnostics, Branford, CT, USA); two sections served as respective positive and negative controls. After they had been stained, the slides were mounted with 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) reagent (Life Technologies, Grand Island, NY, USA). Images were acquired using uniform optical parameters by the cellSens Standard electronic system (Olympus Optical Co. Ltd.) under a fluorescence microscope (BX51, Olympus Optical Co. Ltd.)11.

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