Studies devoted to the assessment of lens capsule biomechanics can be divided into fundamental and applied. The former are oriented towards analysis of various indicators characterizing elasticity of the capsule as a basal membrane that maintains and changes the shape of the lens, and the latter deal with widespread introduction of modern microinvasive methods of phaco surgery into clinical practice.
To assess age-related changes in lens capsule biomechanics based on atomic force microscopy (AFM).
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The study included 50 central fragments of the anterior capsule of the human lens obtained intraoperatively during ultrasonic phacoemulsification by continuous circular capsulorhexis. The measurements were carried out in the Fast Force Volume (FFV) mode. The force curves were processed in the Nanoscope Analysis software (Bruker, USA) using the Hertz model that allows calculating the Young’s modulus of the capsule sample based on the dependence of the force on the puncture depth.
There was no statistically significant difference in the «stiffness» of the inner and outer surfaces before and after removal of the subcapsular epithelium (p=0.25). In all cases, the inner surface of the capsule turned out to be «harder» than the outer one. In this case, the ratio of Young’s modulus of the inner and outer surfaces has a significant dependence on age (p<0.001). With an increase in age from 50 to 90 years, this ratio decreased from ~7 to ~1.5. This was due to a simultaneous change in Young’s modulus of the opposite nature: an increase in the stiffness of the outer surface and its decrease in the inner one.
It is possible to assess lens capsule biomechanics using AFM if the subcapsular epithelium is present. In this case, the objects of study are the areas of the capsule free of epithelium, and the epithelial cells themselves can be used to identify the inner surface of the capsule. Regardless of age, the stiffness of the inner surface of the anterior lens capsule significantly exceeds that of the outer surface.