Cataract surgery is an invasive procedure that replaces the quasi-spherical native lens fibers with a flat prosthetic device, which initially reduces mechanical stress within the remnant lens capsule and, ultimately, leads to contraction of the capsule about the implant. Although resultant changes in geometry have been quantified previously, little is known about the loads associated with this contraction. We present a novel experimental culture device to quantify ex vivo the time course of increases in tension within the contracting lens capsule after cataract-like surgery. Results demonstrate that contraction reaches steady state within approximately one month with a mean tension of 1.45 mN/mm and Cauchy (true) stress of 13.4 kPa. A significant increase in alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) was also found in post-cultured compared to fresh lens capsules, thus suggesting that transdifferentiated lens epithelial cells (LECs) modulated the contraction. Quantification of loads imparted by the contracting lens capsule is important for assessing implant/capsule interactions and implant stability in vivo. Because contraction of the capsule may be modulated in part by LECs attempting to restore their native mechanical environment, our results further suggest a possible mechanism for the long-term errant changes in capsular structure commonly observed after surgery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience