Computer-animated model of accommodation and theory of reciprocal zonular action
Daniel B Goldberg1,2
1Ophthalmology Department, Drexel College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 2Eye Physicians, Little Silver, NJ, USA
Abstract: This report presents a computer-animated model of the structures of accommodation based on new understanding of the anatomy of the zonular apparatus integrated with current understanding of the mechanism of accommodation. Analysis of this model suggests a new, consolidated theory of the mechanism of accommodation including a new theory of reciprocal zonular action. A three-dimensional animated model of the eye in accommodation and disaccommodation was produced in collaboration with an experienced medical animator. Current understanding of the anatomy of the zonule and the attachments of the vitreous zonule to the anterior hyaloid membrane is incomplete. Recent studies have demonstrated three components of the vitreous zonule: (1) anterior vitreous zonule (previously “hyalocapsular” zonule), which attaches the ciliary plexus in the valleys of the ciliary processes to the anterior hyaloid membrane in the region medial to the ciliary body and Weiger’s ligament; (2) intermediate vitreous zonule, which attaches the ciliary plexus to the anterior hyaloid peripherally; and (3) posterior vitreous zonule, which creates a sponge-like ring at the attachment zone that anchors the pars plana zonules. The pars plana zonules attach posteriorly to the elastic choroid above the ora serrata. Analysis of the computer-animated model demonstrates the synchronized movements of the accommodative structures in accommodation and disaccommodation. Utilizing model-based reasoning, it is shown that the posterior zonules attach to and provide traction to the anterior vitreous membrane and Weiger’s ligament. This model supports the concept that the ciliary body/zonule/anterior hyaloid complex contributes to the changes in the posterior lens capsule during accommodation, supporting an extralenticular component to accommodation and demonstrating an alternative to the “vitreous support” theories. There is a reciprocal action of the anterior zonules and the posterior zonules. During ciliary body contraction, the anterior zonules lose tension while the posterior zonules stretch and exert force on the posterior lens capsule playing a role in shaping the posterior lens thickness and curvature. During ciliary body relaxation, the posterior zonules lose tension as the lens flattens and is pulled back by the increasing tension of the anterior zonules.
Keywords: zonule, posterior zonule, vitreous zonule, accommodation, mechanism of accommodation, theory of accommodation, model of accommodation, animated model of accommodation
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