Purpose: To examine postoperative changes in the lens capsules of rabbit eyes after phacoemulsification and aspiration of the crystalline lens and implantation of posterior chamber intraocular lenses (IOLs) using light and scanning electron microscopy.
Setting: Research Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, Wakayama Medical College, Japan.
Methods: The crystalline lens was emulsified and aspirated and an IOL implanted in the capsular bag or ciliary sulcus of each eye in adult albino rabbits under general anesthesia. Animals were killed after 4 weeks, and the lens capsules were removed. The specimens were observed under phase-contrast microscopy and processed for light and scanning electron microscopy.
Results: Phase-contrast microscopy revealed presumed lens epithelial cells (LECs) on the central posterior capsules in association with regenerating lenticular fibers and Elschnig pearls in the peripheral capsules. Scanning electron microscopy showed the accumulation of fibrous extracellular matrix on the surface of the posterior capsule in eyes in which the IOL was implanted in the ciliary sulcus. Deposition of packed material attached to the surface of IOLs and of Soemmering's ring were observed in eyes with in-the-bag IOL fixation. At a higher magnification, a parallel arrangement of lenticular fibers was seen in the regenerated lens structure on posterior capsules. An identical structure was observed under light microscopy. Outgrowth of presumed LECs from residual anterior lens capsules and adhesion of macrophages and giant cells were observed on the IOL surface.
Conclusion: Two types of postoperative changes were observed in lens capsules after implantation of IOLs: accumulation of fibrous extracellular matrix and newly formed lenticular fibers. These changes are attributed to the proliferation of LECs and can induce posterior capsule opacification after IOL implantation.