Refractive power and biometric properties of the nonhuman primate isolated crystalline lens

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Apr;51(4):2118-25. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-3905. Epub 2010 Jan 27.


Purpose. To characterize the age dependence of shape, refractive power, and refractive index of isolated lenses from nonhuman primates. Methods. Measurements were performed on ex vivo lenses from cynomolgus monkeys (cyno: n = 120; age, 2.7-14.3 years), rhesus monkeys (n = 61; age, 0.7-13.3 years), and hamadryas baboons (baboon: n = 16; age, 1.7-27.3 years). Lens thickness, diameter, and surface curvatures were measured with an optical comparator. Lens refractive power was measured with a custom optical system based on the Scheiner principle. The refractive contributions of the gradient, the surfaces, and the equivalent refractive index were calculated with optical ray-tracing software. The age dependence of the optical and biometric parameters was assessed. Results. Over the measured age range isolated lens thickness decreased (baboon: -0.04, cyno: -0.05, and rhesus: -0.06 mm/y) and equatorial diameter increased (logarithmically for the baboon and rhesus, and linearly for cyno: 0.07 mm/y). The isolated lens surfaces flattened and the corresponding refractive power from the surfaces decreased with age (-0.33, -0.48, and -0.68 D/y). The isolated lens equivalent refractive index decreased (only significant for the baboon, -0.001 D/y), and as a result the total isolated lens refractive power decreased with age (baboon: -1.26, cyno: -0.97, and rhesus: -1.76 D/y). Conclusions. The age-dependent trends in the optical and biometric properties, growth, and aging, of nonhuman primate lenses are similar to those of the pre-presbyopic human lens. As the lens ages, the decrease in refractive contributions from the gradient refractive index causes a rapid age-dependent decrease in maximally accommodated lens refractive power.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biometry
  • Lens, Crystalline / anatomy & histology*
  • Lens, Crystalline / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Papio hamadryas
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology*