Biomechanics of the lens capsule
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Knowledge of the mechanics of the lens capsule is crucial for improving cataract surgery as well as understanding better the physiological role of the lens capsule in the process of accommodation. Previous research on the mechanical properties of the lens capsule contains many gaps and contradictions due to experimental limitations and inappropriate assumptions. Thus, the goal of this work is to quantify fully the regional, multiaxial mechanical behavior of the lens capsule and to calculate the change in stress and strain fields as a result of cataract surgery. Determining in situ the multiaxial mechanical behavior of the lens capsule required the design and construction of an experimental device capable of altering stresses in the capsule while measuring localized surface deformations. Tests performed on this device reveal that the meridional and circumferential strains align with the principal directions and are equivalent through most of the anterior lens capsule, except close to the equator where the meridional strain is greater. Furthermore, preconditioning effects were also found to be significant. Most importantly, however, these tests provide the data necessary for calculating material properties. This experimental system is advantageous in that it allows reconstruction of 3D geometry of the lens capsule and thereby quantification of curvature changes, as well as measurement of surface deformations that result from various surgical interventions. For instance, a continuous circular capsulorhexis (CCC) is commonly used during cataract surgery to create a hole in the anterior lens capsule (typically with a diameter of 5 mm). After the introduction of a CCC, strain was found to redistribute evenly from the meridional direction (retractional strain) to the circumferential direction (extensional strain), where both directional components of strain reached magnitudes up to 20% near the edge of the CCC. Furthermore, the curvature was found to increase at the edge of the CCC and remain the same near the equator, indicating that the mere introduction of a hole in the lens capsule will alter the focal characteristics of the lens and must therefore be considered in the design of an accommodative intraocular lens.
Posterior capsule opacification
Heistand, Mark Richard (2004). Biomechanics of the lens capsule. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from