The aim of this study was to develop a method for refining the optical and mechanical properties of human amniotic membrane (AM) to provide ophthalmic transparent implants for use during severe donor cornea shortages. AM was allowed to gradually dehydrate at 4-8 °C with and without chemical cross-linking. To improve the transparency of AM, a simple dehydration process using a refrigerator at 4-8 °C overnight was examined. For further improvements, dehydrated AM was then cross-linked with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide and N-hydroxy-succimide before rehydration. Light transmittance and tensile strength of individual specimens were evaluated. Light transmittance of AM improved from 50.9-77.7% at 550 nm by this simple low temperature dehydration process. Its high light transmittance was partially maintained at 70.1%, even after rehydration with normal saline. Interestingly, chemically cross-linked AM showed a significantly greater light transmittance of 81.5% under wet conditions. In addition, tensile strength was significantly increased after cross-linking from 2.32 N/mm2 (native tissue) to 11.78 N/mm2 (cross-linked specimens). Light transmittance and tensile strength were successfully improved by these approaches, including low temperature dehydration with and without chemical cross-linking. The use of refined AM could be feasible for use in current and future ophthalmic treatments. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.