Long-term prevention of capsular opacification after lens-refilling surgery in a rabbit model

Theo G van Kooten, Steven A Koopmans, Thom Terwee, Sönke Langner, Oliver Stachs, Rudolf F Guthoff

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PURPOSE: To reduce capsular opacification by a peri-surgical treatment of the lens capsule with drugs in an in vivo rabbit model. Lens-refilling surgery is a potential therapeutic intervention to treat patients with a cataract lens. The lens material is replaced with an injectable (bio)polymer that retains the natural mechanical and optical lens properties, therewith allowing accommodation. The occurrence of capsular opacification mediated by lens epithelial cells negatively affects accommodation and vision and should be avoided in this lens restoration approach.

METHODS: An in vivo rabbit animal model was used with lens replacement with a silicone-based gel-like polymer and concurrent treatment of the lens epithelium with drugs. A case-study approach was applied as both drug combinations and implantation times were varied. The following drugs were investigated for their potential to prevent capsular opacification long-term: actinomycin D, methotrexate, paclitaxel and Tween-20. All were administered in a hyaluronic acid vehicle. The rabbits were clinically followed for periods up to 4 years postimplantation. Eyes, corneas and lenses were analysed post-mortem using MRI and confocal microscopy.

RESULTS: Treatment combinations containing actinomycin D generally led to the least appearance of capsular fibrosis. The use of Tween-20 or paclitaxel without actinomycin D resulted in much earlier and pronounced fibrotic responses. The aspect of capsular opacification was highly variable in individual animals. Application of the drugs in a hyaluronic acid vehicle appeared to be a safe method that spared the corneal endothelium.

CONCLUSION: The feasibility of long-term prevention of fibrosis over a period of more than 4 years has been demonstrated in lens refilling in the rabbit model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e860-e870
Number of pages11
JournalActa ophthalmologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2019


  • accommodation
  • capsular opacification
  • fibrosis prevention
  • intraocular lens
  • lens epithelial cells
  • treatment
  • VIVO
  • EYES

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