Purpose: To evaluate the presence and distribution of lens epithelial cells (LECs) and extracellular matrix on intraocular lenses (IOLs) implanted in the capsular bag in rabbit eyes.
Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Wakayama Medical College, Wakayama, Japan.
Methods: Five adult albino rabbits had phacoemulsification and IOL implantation in both eyes. Two or 11 months later, the animals were killed by intravenous pentobarbital. The IOLs were removed and observed under scanning and transmission electron microscopy.
Results: In addition to the macrophages and giant cells on the IOLs, all eyes had a monolayer of flattened cells growing out from the residual anterior lens capsule and a fibrous meshwork of extracellular matrix. Unlike those of a macrophagic origin, these cells had no central cytoplasmic elevation of nuclei and few cell surface microvilli and were considered to be proliferating LECs.
Conclusion: Lens epithelial cells are involved in the eye's cellular reaction to IOLs and in the formation of extracellular matrix on IOLs. Further study of LEC behavior on IOLs should be done to improve IOL biocompatibility.