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The human ocular lens is a tissue capable of changing its shape to dynamically adjust the optical power of the eye, a function known as accommodation, which gradually declines with age. This capability is the response of the lens tissue to external forces, which, in turn, is modulated by the biomechanical characteristics of lens tissues. In order to investigate the contributions of lens sclerosis to loss of accommodation, we report on in vitro confocal Brillouin light scattering studies of human ocular lenses spanning over a 30-70 year age range. Using this nondestructive measurement method, we determined that the longitudinal bulk modulus (average ± SD) of the lens nucleus (2.79 ± 0.14 GPa) was consistently greater than the bulk modulus of the lens cortex (2.36 ± 0.09 GPa). Moreover, our results showed that these differences were not age dependent over the 40 year age range that we evaluated using healthy lens tissues. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that an age-dependent change in the bulk modulus of lens tissues does not fully account for the natural decline of accommodation.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2010