The zonules selectively alter the shape of the lens during accommodation based on the location of their anchorage points

Derek Nankivil, Bianca Maceo Heilman, Heather Durkee, Fabrice Manns, Klaus Ehrmann, Shawn Kelly, Esdras Arrieta Quintero, Jean-Marie A Parel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To determine the role of anterior and posterior zonular tension on the optomechanical lens response during accommodation simulation. METHODS. Ten eyes from nine hamadryas baboons (4.9 ± 0.7 years) and 20 eyes from 18 cynomolgus monkeys (5.4 ± 0.3 years) were dissected, leaving the lens, zonules, ciliary body, hyaloid membrane, anterior vitreous, and a segmented scleral rim intact. The lens preparation was mounted in a lens stretcher, and the outer scleral shell was displaced radially in a stepwise fashion. The load, lens, and ciliary body diameters, lens power, lens thickness, and the anterior and posterior radius of curvature were measured during stretching. The zonular fibers attached to either the posterior or anterior lens surface were then carefully transected and the experiment was repeated. Zonular transection was confirmed in four eyes via laser scanning confocal microscopy after immunostaining. The effect of zonular transection on the tissue response to stretching was quantified. RESULTS. Without anterior zonules, 48% and 97% of the changes in anterior and posterior radii are retained. Without posterior zonules, 81% and 67% of the changes in anterior and posterior radii are retained. The changes in lens shape were reduced after transecting either the anterior or posterior zonules; however, both surfaces still changed shape. CONCLUSIONS. While either the anterior or posterior zonules alone are capable of changing the shape of both lens surfaces, the anterior zonules have a greater effect on the anterior lens surface, and the posterior zonules have a greater effect on the posterior lens surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1751-1760
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015



  • Accommodation
  • Crystalline lens
  • Lens shape
  • Zonular apparatus
  • Zonule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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