Lens capsule and epithelium in age-related cataract

Am J Ophthalmol. 1991 Sep 15;112(3):283-96. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)76729-7.


On the basis of preoperative assessment of patient characteristics, intraoperative obtainment of a lens-capsule and epithelium specimen, histopathologic investigation of lens capsule and epithelium, and biochemical analysis of glutathione reductase in lens epithelium, age-related cataract was studied in 50 adult patients who underwent consecutive extracapsular cataract-posterior chamber lens implant surgery. Patients (25 men and 25 women; age range, 41 to 91 years; mean age, 75 years) had a wide range of systemic and ocular disease; 17 of 50 (34%) patients had a history of severe vision-impairing cataract in a first-degree relative. Anterior lens-capsule thickness ranged from 10 to 22 microns, with a mean of 17 microns. Statistical analysis of lens-epithelium ultrastructure in 41 of 50 specimens documented mixing of normal and abnormal cells, verified a gradation in the degree of abnormal ultrastructural features, and demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in epithelial cytologic activity with advancing age (P = .038). Biochemical analysis documented a severe glutathione reductase deficiency in nine of 39 (23%) lens-epithelium specimens, possibly reflecting a dietary deficiency of riboflavin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Cataract / enzymology
  • Cataract / pathology*
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Epithelium / enzymology
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Glutathione Reductase / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / enzymology
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / ultrastructure*
  • Lenses, Intraocular
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Visual Acuity


  • Glutathione Reductase