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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999 May;40(6):1162-9.

Age-related changes in human ciliary muscle and lens: a magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Department of Surgery (Bioengineering), UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.



To use high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) images of the eye to directly measure the relationship between ciliary muscle contraction and lens response with advancing age.


A General Electric, 1.5-Tesla MR imager and a custom-designed eye imaging coil were used to collect high-resolution MR images from 25 subjects, 22 through 83 years of age. A nonmagnetic binocular stimulus apparatus was used to induce both relaxed accommodation (0.1 diopter [D]) and strong accommodative effort (8.0 D). Measurements of the ciliary muscle ring diameter (based on the inner apex), lens equatorial diameter, and lens thickness were derived from the MR images.


Muscle contraction is present in all subjects and reduces only slightly with advancing age. A decrease in the diameter of the unaccommodated ciliary muscle ring was highly correlated with advancing age. Lens equatorial diameter does not correlate with age for either accommodative state. Although unaccommodated lens thickness (i.e., lens minor axis length) increases with age, the thickness of the lens under accommodative effort is only modestly age-dependent.


Ciliary muscle contractile activity remains active in all subjects. A decrease in the unaccommodated ciliary muscle diameter, along with the previously noted increase in lens thickness (the "lens paradox"), demonstrates the greatest correlation with advancing age. These results support the theory that presbyopia is actually the loss in ability to disaccommodate due to increases in lens thickness, the inward movement of the ciliary ring, or both.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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