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July 1960

Structural Changes of the Crystalline Lens Caused by Autolysis

Author Affiliations

Iowa City
From the Departments of Anatomy and Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, State University of Iowa.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1960;64(1):92-103. doi:10.1001/archopht.1960.01840010094008

Even though the crystalline lens is an avascular structure, physical and chemical changes occur soon after death, whether the eye is left in the intact animal or whether the lens is removed from the globe. For instance, Langham and Davson1 found that if the rabbit's eye was left intact for seven hours after death, an increase of chloride ions in the lens was noted. In tissue culture it was found that an inadequate nutrient medium, pH, anoxia, and a decrease in temperature would alter the chemical constitutents and/or the physical constitution of the lens.2 Even when conditions for tissue culture seemed to be ideal, the lens exhibited some abnormalities.3,4

The present study was undertaken because histological preparations of crystalline lenses from animals found dead in their cages showed abnormalities resembling cataractous changes, although ophthalmoscopically the lenses had appeared normal the previous day. In addition to the histological

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