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Hans E. Grossniklaus, John M. Nickerson, Henry F. Edelhauser, Louise A. M. K. Bergman, Lennart Berglin; Anatomic Alterations in Aging and Age-Related Diseases of the Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(14):ORSF23-ORSF27. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12711.
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We described anatomic age-related changes in the human eye to determine potential areas of investigation that may lead to identifying eyes at risk for age-related disease.
A descriptive review of anatomic changes in the eye related to aging was performed in the context of current areas of investigation. The review was performed specifically for differing anatomic ocular structures, including cornea, trabecular meshwork, lens, uveal tract, Bruch's membrane, retina, RPE, vitreous, sclera, and optic nerve.
Age-related changes occur in all ocular tissues. The cornea flattens and there is an attrition of endothelial cells. The shape of the trabecular meshwork changes and there is a loss of trabecular endothelium. The lens grows and becomes cataractous. The ciliary body becomes collagenized, there are choroidal vascular changes, and Bruch's membrane thickens. Retinal vessels become hyalinized and there is a loss of rods before cones in the macula. RPE morphometric changes occur with aging. The vitreous becomes liquefied and there is a loss of vitreous compartmentalization. The sclera becomes rigid and may become calcified. The optic nerve exhibits structural changes with age.
There are numerous anatomic age-related changes in the human eye. Current areas of investigation related to these changes include adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy imaging of the RPE mosaic in the context of aging, and drug delivery devices that overcome age-related alterations to retinal and macular perfusion.
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