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October 1979

Dextran's Effects on Stressed LensesWater, Electrolyte, and Radioisotope Studies

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary; and the Department of Physiology, Rush Medical College (Dr Sanders), Chicago.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(10):1948-1953. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020020396027

• To evaluate the beneficial effects of dextran 40 as an additive to infusion solutions, we studied an experimental model of lens stress with use of buffered, low calcium (Ca++ )-containing solutions. Incubation in low Ca++ solutions (pCa = 10.7) for ten hours (stress period) resulted in lens swelling and electrolyte imbalances that were irreversible even with reincubation in physiologic, normal Ca++-containing media (pCa = 2.7) (recovery period). The addition of 6% or more of dextran to the media inhibited lens water gain during the stress period. It also rendered the resultant electrolyte imbalances reversible during the recovery period, thus exerting a protective effect. Radioisotope-tracer studies showed that dextran improved the ability of the lens to accumulate rubidium chloride Rb 86 and reduced its efflux during both the stress and recovery periods. Although dextran did not markedly decrease sodium chloride Na 22 uptake by lenses under stress, it did allow the lens to remove the 22Na during the recovery period.