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Elizabeth R. Gaillard, Lei Zheng, John C. Merriam, James Dillon; Age-Related Changes in the Absorption Characteristics of the Primate Lens. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2000;41(6):1454-1459.
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purpose. To quantitate aging of the primate lens by changes in the absorption
characteristics that are related to the yellowing of lens protein.
methods. The lenses of lower primates and humans were sectioned anterior to
posterior every 0.25 mm, and the UV-visible spectrum of each section
was measured to determine the cumulative spectra along the visual axis.
The ratio of the absorbance at 320 nm (formed with aging) to the
absorbance at 365 nm (present in the young lens) was correlated with
the age of the lens.
results. In the young primate UV-B is transmitted to the retina, and UV-A is
transmitted to the nucleus of the lens. By puberty, changes in the
absorption characteristics of the lens that are associated with the
yellowing of lens protein prevented most of the UV-B from reaching the
retina and by the eighth decade, the transmittances at 320 and 365 nm
to the nucleus of the lens were approximately 40% and 79%,
respectively. A linear relationship between the ratio of absorbance at
320 to 365 nm and age was found for both lower primates and humans to
the age of 80 years. This is surprising, because the maximum life span
of the lower primate is approximately 35 years, whereas humans may live
conclusions. These data suggest that the observed spectral changes associated with
the yellowing of the lens are the result of a chronological process,
such as chemical or photochemical modifications, not biological
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