At the macroscopic level, the ocular lens appears as a relatively simple structure with the sole role of focusing light upon the retina. However, numerous studies have underscored the dynamic nature of this organ with a host of compartmentalized physiological processes necessary for transparency. Yet, to date, this contemporary appreciation has not resulted in a universally accepted model for normal lens physiology and controversies remain. Based on original findings of this laboratory, this application proposes to test 2 hypotheses related to electrolyte and fluid transport mechanisms by the lens - 1) that a fluid circulation exists inside the avascular lens. This fluid enters and leaves the lens at different regions completing a loop around the lens surface. Further, this circulation is driven by ionic transport mechanisms that are also non-uniformly distributed around the lens surface;and 2) that a volume change due to fluid traversing the surface of the lens occurs during accommodation. Although both processes involve fluid movement, they operate in a different time scale. The fluid circulation is thought to be a continuous and slow flow, whereas the fluid that moves in and out of the lens occurs in milliseconds and only during accommodation. The work proposed to address the first hypothesis is designed to empirically test an earlier theoretical concept initially proposed by Mathias, Rae and Baldo (1997) that evolved into the lens fluid circulation model (FCM), as it is presently known. However, this model has now become controversial, and legitimate questions have arisen. Although we acquired in recent years data consistent with the FCM, we now plan additional experiments to rigorously test the validity of the model. The second hypothesis is related to the general theme of this project, which focuses on the distribution of fluid flows across the lens surface, and is based upon data that were acquired during the previous funding period, which indicate that the normal lens changes its volume during the accommodation process. To examine the above hypotheses, electrophysiological, volumetric and biophysical techniques will be used in two specific aims on bovine and rabbit lens models: 1) to characterize the putative coupling between circulating electrolyte currents around the surface of the lens and internal movement of fluid to test the validity of the lens FCM;and 2) to further establish that the lens volume changes during accommodation, and to determine the relationship between mechanical and osmotic forces on lens shape and volume.
This aim will expand upon our recent observations that mechanical stretching forces and hypo-osmotic forces have oppositely directed influences on lens volume. From the accomplishment of these aims, data relevant to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying lens homeostasis will be obtained. Advancing our knowledge of normal lens function is essential for the future development of potential anti-cataract and presbyopia therapies.

Public Health Relevance

It is generally accepted that a depletion of anti-oxidants in the interior lens nucleus leads to age- related nuclear cataracts (ANC). If an internal circulation of fluid indeed exists within the lens, future studies directed towards pharmacological approaches to augment the rate of fluid flow would be warranted in order to increase the convection of anti-oxidants to the lens interior. In accommodation, if our ideas are correct, it may turn out that another factor contributing toward presbyopia might be that the lens loses its fluid permeability with ageing.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Anterior Eye Disease Study Section (AED)
Program Officer
Araj, Houmam H
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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Candia, Oscar A; Gerometta, Rosana M; Danias, John (2014) Tissue plasminogen activator reduces the elevated intraocular pressure induced by prednisolone in sheep. Exp Eye Res 128:114-6
Alvarez, Lawrence J; Zamudio, Aldo C; Candia, Oscar A (2013) Sildenafil stimulates aqueous humor turnover in rabbits. Exp Eye Res 111:67-70
Gerometta, Rosana; Kumar, Sandeep; Shah, Shaily et al. (2013) Reduction of steroid-induced intraocular pressure elevation in sheep by tissue plasminogen activator. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 54:7903-9
Wallace, Julian M; Chiu, Michael K; Nandy, Anirvan S et al. (2013) Crowding during restricted and free viewing. Vision Res 84:50-9
Gerometta, Rosana; Alvarez, Lawrence J; Candia, Oscar A (2012) Sildenafil accelerates anterior chamber refilling after paracentesis in sheep and rabbits. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 53:565-73
Gerometta, Rosana; Alvarez, Lawrence J; Candia, Oscar A (2011) Effect of sildenafil citrate on intraocular pressure and blood pressure in human volunteers. Exp Eye Res 93:103-7
Candia, Oscar A (2011) Surface and volume changes in the lens during accommodation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 52:3698
Zamudio, Aldo C; Candia, Oscar A (2011) Interaction between mechanical and osmotic forces in the isolated rabbit lens. Exp Eye Res 93:798-803
Gerometta, Rosana; Escobar, D; Candia, Oscar A (2011) An hypothesis on pressure transmission from anterior chamber to optic nerve. Med Hypotheses 77:827-31
Candia, O A; Zamudio, A C; Alvarez, L J (2010) Mechanical stretching forces oppose osmotic lens swelling. Exp Eye Res 91:472-4

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