Objective: To restore accommodation in primate eyes by refilling the lens capsule with injectable silicone compounds.
Materials and methods: Eight eyes of 8 monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) were treated by the lens refilling procedure. To prevent leakage of the injected liquid silicone before it polymerized in the capsule in vivo, a silicone plug for sealing the capsular opening was developed. After endocapsular phacoemulsification following an upper minicircular capsulorhexis, the plug was introduced into the capsulorhexis opening. A silicone mixture was injected into the capsular bag through the delivery tube of the plug. Automated refractometry was performed 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Accommodation amplitude was determined as the difference between the refractions before and 1 hour after topical application of 4% pilocarpine chloride.
Results: Five of 8 eyes could be refilled. In 4 of 5 eyes, refraction could be measured. Accommodation amplitude ranged from 1.0 to 4.5 diopters, with a mean of 2.3 +/- 1.3 diopters (8.0 +/- 2.0 preoperative values). At 3-month examination, thick posterior capsule opacification precluded refractometry in all eyes.
Conclusions: The lens refilling procedure with the use of a silicone plug for sealing the capsular opening was feasible in primate eyes. The accommodation amplitude attained was a small fraction of the value before surgery. This may result from the loss of so-called intracapsular accommodation, ie, active participation of lens fiber cells in accommodation. However, since the obtained accommodation may be sufficient for near vision after cataract surgery, this lens refilling procedure warrants further study. Elucidation of the mechanism of intracapsular accommodation may also be necessary.