Purpose: To evaluate the role of lens epithelial cells (LECs) in posterior capsule opacification.
Setting: Departments of Ophthalmology and Pathology, Wakayama Medical College, Department of Anatomy, Kansai Shinkyu College, and Department of Ophthalmology, Kobe Kaisei Hospital, Japan.
Methods: We examined the presence of degenerated LECs on the capsules of the eyes of rabbits and a patient after intraocular lens (IOL) implantation. Phacoextraction of a crystalline lens and IOL implantation were done in 5 albino rabbits under general anesthesia. The animals were killed after 2 months. Lens capsules were removed and fixed. During vitreous surgery, a lens capsule with an IOL was removed from a patient. Ultrathin sections of specimens were studied by transmission electron microscopy.
Results: Presumed LECs proliferated between the posterior capsule and the IOL in association with collagenous matrix. Debris from the degenerated cells and destroyed intracellular organelles was also seen.
Conclusion: Lens epithelial cells proliferating on the posterior capsule cannot survive indefinitely.