The decellularization protocols applied on the corneal stromal constructs in the literature usually fail to provide a corneal matrix with sufficient mechanical and optical properties since they alter the extracellular matrix (ECM) microstructure. In this study, to overcome these limitations, a hybrid cornea stromal construct was engineered by combining gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) and decellularized ECM. Photo-cross-linking of impregnated cell laden GelMA in situ using different UV cross-linking energies (3200, 6210, and 6900 mu J/cm(2)) and impregnation times (up to 24 h) within a decellularized bovine cornea enhanced light transmission and restored lost mechanical features following the harsh decellularization protocol. The light transmittance value for optimized hybrid constructs (53.6%) was increased nearly 10 fold compared to that of decellularized cornea (5.84%). The compressive modulus was also restored up to 6 fold with calculated values of 5040 and 870 kPa for the hybrid and decellularized samples, respectively. These values were found to be quite close to that of native cornea (48.5%, 9790 kPa). ATR-FTIR analyses were carried out to confirm the final chemical structure. The degradation profiles showed similar decomposition behaviors to that of native cornea. In vitro culture studies showed a high level of cell viability and cell proliferation rate was found remarkable up to the 14th day of the culture period regardless of selected UV energy level. The methodology used in the preparation of the hybrid cornea stromal constructs in this study is a promising approach toward the development of successful corneal transplants.