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Susanne Krag, Troels T. Andreassen; Mechanical Properties of the Human Posterior Lens Capsule. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(2):691-696. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0096.
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purpose. To investigate mechanical properties of the human posterior lens capsule.
methods. Twenty-five human donor eyes were obtained from an eye bank. The age of the donors ranged from 1 to 94 years. Test specimens were prepared as tissue rings from posterior lens capsules by means of excimer laser. Capsular thickness was measured microscopically as the difference in focus between microspherules placed on the outer and inner surfaces of the capsule. The capsular rings were slipped over two pins connected to a motorized micropositioner and a force transducer and stretched at a constant rate with continuous recording of load and deformation. Data for the posterior lens capsule were compared with previously published data for the anterior lens capsule.
results. The thickness of the posterior lens capsule ranged from 4 to 9 μm and showed no significant changes with age. Ultimate mechanical strength of the posterior lens capsule decreased significantly with age. Ultimate strain ranged from 101% to 34%, ultimate load ranged from 15.9 to 1.1 mN, ultimate stress ranged from 16.1 to 1.1 N/mm2, ultimate elastic stiffness ranged from 52.1 to 5.7 mN, and ultimate elastic modulus ranged from 27.4 to 3.3 N/mm2. The load-strain and the stress-strain relationships in the posterior lens capsule were nonlinear, and therefore elastic stiffness and elastic modulus varied as a function of strain. In the low-strain region (0%–10% strain), elastic stiffness and elastic modulus ranged between 0.3 to 2.4 mN and 0.3 to 2.3 N/mm2, respectively, and seemed to increase during the first part of life until middle age.
conclusions. Mechanical strength of the posterior lens capsule was found to decrease markedly with age. The age-related loss of mechanical strength seemed to begin earlier in the posterior lens capsule than in the anterior lens capsule. In accommodative function range (low strains), the mechanical quality of the posterior lens capsule was similar to the anterior lens capsule, which indicates that the mechanical effectiveness of the lens capsule in situ varies proportionally with capsular thickness.
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