SS-OCT Reveals Age-Related and Cycloplegia-Induced Changes in the Crystalline Lens

Ophthalmology office.
Ophthalmology office. Masked patient and doctor – Covid 19. Scan of the retina, an examination that allows you to precisely visualize the different parts of the eye. This imaging makes it possible to observe the retina in order to detect, for example, a retinal uplift with edema or a diabetic retinopathy. It is used to monitor wet AMD about every two months and complements the fundus to see if an injection of treatment is needed. OCT is also used to examine the optic nerve, and therefore screen for or monitor glaucoma. (Photo by: Pascal Bachelet/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
SS-OCT may be a better method of obtaining crystalline lens parameters than conventional means such as MRI, Scheimpflug imaging, or ultrasound biomicroscopy, a study suggests.

Swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) can reveal age-related and cycloplegia-induced changes in crystalline lens morphology, according to a study published in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. 

Researchers conducted a single center, prospective cross-sectional study of 76 eyes of 76 patients (mean age 48.01±19.34 years) to assess the accuracy of using SS-OCT to measure geometric lenticular parameters. They also sought a potential association between those variables and age, and observed the effects of cycloplegia. Investigators measured anterior chamber depth (ACD), the radii of curvature of the anterior and posterior surface of the crystalline lens (ALR and PLR), lens thickness (LT), lens equatorial diameter (LED), and lens vault (LV) before and after cycloplegia. They compared pre and post cycloplegic parameters and assigned participants to1 of 3 groups based on their age: 18-40 years (n=28), 41-60 years (n=24), and older than 60 years (n=24). They adjusted for axial length, refractive status, and sex through the use of a multivariate linear regression model.

The  investigators found that ALR and ACD were negatively correlated with age (P ≤.002), while LT, LV, and LED were positively correlated with age (P ≤.004). ALR and ACD significantly increased, and LV and LT significantly decreased post cycloplegia in patients younger than 60 years (P <.001 for all). ALR and ACD significantly decreased while LT and LV significantly increased post cycloplegia in participants older than 60 years (P =.001, P =.014, P <.001, and P =.001, respectively).

“The crystalline lens morphology measured by the SS-OCT revealed steepening anterior surface and increasing equatorial diameter with age. Cycloplegia caused a significant change of anterior surface morphology in participants younger than 60 years, and this effect diminished with age,” according to the investigators, who concluded that SS-OCT is a reliable tool for observation of crystalline lens morphology.

Limitations of the study include a single center design, small sample size, and a discrepancy in mean LED measurements obtained by SS-OCT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Li Z, Qu W, Huang J, et al. Effect of age and cycloplegia on the morphology of the human crystalline lens: swept-source OCT study. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2022;48(1):8-15. doi:10.1097/j.jcrs.0000000000000693