The symptoms of Sattler's veil accompany prolonged wear of thick contact lenses and are thought to be the result of epithelial hypoxia. We studied light scattering in the isolated rabbit cornea after hypoxia with optical techniques. We found that hypoxia produced a polygonal mesh of light scattering, outlining cells in the intermediate and basal epithelium. An optical transform of this mesh produced a halo of the same dimensions observed in Sattler's veil. Additionally, prolonged hypoxia produced an increase in stromal light scattering that may add to increased glare sensitivity. Consistent changes in epithelial thickness were not observed, raising the possibility of radial swelling or compensatory epithelial volume regulation.