Quora: What is the state of knowledge about transparency of the eye lens?

Posted on April 19, 2012 · Posted in Eye Anatomy, Eye Health

The answer to transparency of the lens proteins and, in turn, the lens as a whole lies in a few concepts:

1) The crystallin proteins found within the lens are packed/configured in such a way to promote transparency. This idea is quite similar to the organization of collagen fibers within the cornea.

2) The lens maintains a decent amount of metabolic activity in order to maintain its transparency.

3) Mature lens fibers lack organelles like a nucleus and mitochondria which would reduce transparency.

It’s important to note, though, that many would argue that the lens starts to lose a small amount of transparency each day we are alive. As the lens thickens over time with the addition of fibers, more and more light actually does get absorbed and/or scattered. This is the natural process of cataract development