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Ho-Ting D. Wu, Louisa A. Howse, Ehsan Vaghefi; Effect of Age-Related Human Lens Sutures Growth on Its Fluid Dynamics. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(14):6351-6357. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22099.
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Age-related nuclear cataract is the opacification of the clear ocular lens due to oxidative damage as we age, and is the leading cause of blindness in the world. A lack of antioxidant supply to the core of ever-growing ocular lens could contribute to the cause of this condition. In this project, a computational model was developed to study the sutural fluid inflow of the aging human lens.
Three different SOLIDWORKS computational fluid dynamics models of the human lens (7 years old; 28 years old; 46 years old) were created, based on available literature data. The fluid dynamics of the lens sutures were modelled using the Stokes flow equations, combined with realistic physiological boundary conditions and embedded in COMSOL Multiphysics.
The flow rate, volume, and flow rate per volume of fluid entering the aging lens were examined, and all increased over the 40 years modelled. However, while the volume of the lens grew by ∼300% and the flow rate increased by ∼400%, the flow rate per volume increased only by very moderate ∼38%.
Here, sutural information from humans of 7 to 46 years of age was obtained. In this modelled age range, an increase of flow rate per volume was observed, albeit at very slow rate. We hypothesize that with even further increasing age (60+ years old), the lens volume growth would outpace its flow rate increases, which would eventually lead to malnutrition of the lens nucleus and onset of cataracts.
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