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September 1985

Posterior Capsule Opacification: An In Vitro Model

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Vitreoretinal Research, Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(9):1378-1381. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050090130047

• Posterior capsule opacification results from migration of lens epithelial cells onto the posterior capsule, where they produce collagen and contract to cause wrinkling of the capsule. We have designed an in vitro model that reproduces the process of opacification. Lens capsules removed from enucleated bovine eyes are placed within specially designed holders, creating a culture dish with the capsule as its bottom surface. Albino rabbit lens epithelial cells are then plated on the capsule. These capsules develop clinical and ultrastructural features of opacification very similar to those observed in humans. Membranes composed of confluent epithelial cells closely resemble the cellular membranes observed with specular microscopy in human patients. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrates that a membrane several cells thick forms on the capsules. This model allows careful morphologic, metabolic, and biochemical studies of the process of opacification and the investigation of therapies designed to prevent opacification of the posterior capsule.