Although the lens of the eye is structurally a biological tissue, it functions as an optical element providing one third of the refracting power of the human eye, and a variable focus in younger years. Throughout a life-time the optical properties of the eye-lens alter, resulting in changes in function: there is a gradual depletion of the focussing amplitude from infancy to middle age, and a loss of transmittance in the later decades of life. The optical properties of the lens depend on its power, which in turn is determined by its physical dimensions (curvatures and thickness) and its refractive index as well as transmissivity and the organization of its internal components. The power of the functional lens is, however, modifiable by virtue of the lens being attached via the zonule to the ciliary muscle. The contraction and relaxation of the latter respectively increases and decreases lens power in accordance with innervations determined by the physical distance of external objects to be imaged on the retina. This review will consider many of these features and how alterations in any of them may lead to changes in lenticular function. However, as we have recently devoted a detailed study to presbyopia  its mechanism will not be considered here.
|Publication status||Published - 1995|