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Mol Vis. 2014 Jan 29;20:125-31. eCollection 2014.

Measuring the viscosity of whole bovine lens using a fiber optic oxygen sensing system.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL.



To obtain a better understanding of oxygen and nutrient transport within the lens, the viscosity of whole lenses was investigated using a fiber optic oxygen sensor (optode). The diffusion coefficient of oxygen was calculated using the Stokes-Einstein equation at the slip boundary condition.


The optode was used to measure the oxygen decay signal in samples consisting of different glycerol/water solutions with known viscosities. The oxygen decay signal was fitted to a double exponential decay rate equation, and the lifetimes (tau) were calculated. It was determined that the tau-viscosity relationship is linear, which served as the standard curve. The same procedure was applied to fresh bovine lenses, and the unknown viscosity of the bovine lens was calculated from the tau-viscosity relationship.


The average viscosity in a whole bovine lens was determined to be 5.74 ± 0.88 cP by our method. Using the Stokes-Einstein equation at the slip boundary condition, the diffusion coefficient for oxygen was calculated to be 8.2 × 10(-6) cm(2)/s.


These data indicate a higher resistance to flow for oxygen and nutrients in the lens than what is currently assumed in the literature. Overall, this study allows a better understanding of oxygen transport within the lens.

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