This study will use dynamic light scattering (DLS) technology to study normal lens aging and
early cataract formation. Cataract is a clouding of the lens that interferes with the
passage of light to the retina, impairing visual acuity. DLS uses a low intensity laser
light (similar to that used in supermarket checkouts) to measure lens cloudiness. It detects
changes in the human lens at the earliest molecular stages of cataract development, when
anti-cataract treatment would be most effective in reversing, delaying or preventing
Healthy normal volunteers and patients with age-related cataract between 18 and 80 years of
age may be eligible for this study. Participants undergo the following tests and procedures:
Eye examination, including the following:
- Measurement of visual acuity (vision chart)
- Measurement of eye pressure
- Dilation of the pupils for slit lamp (microscope) examination and grading of lens
- Ultrasound examination of the eye to determine distances between cornea, lens
(including lens thickness), and retina
- Examination of the retina at the back of the eye
- Dynamic light scattering of the lens (see below)
- Lens photography using a camera with a bright flash
For the DLS procedure, the patient sits in front of the DLS device with his or her chin
placed on a chin rest and fixes on a yellow target in the center of the camera lens. When
the eye is properly aligned, DLS measurements are taken on the lens.
A new non invasive, in vivo technique to study the molecular changes in the human lens,
called Dynamic Light Scattering Device (DLS), has recently been developed. Preliminary
studies have shown its potential to detect the earliest changes in cataract, at the stage
where anti-cataract treatment would be most effective in reversing, delaying or preventing
cataracts. A new miniaturized version of this device has been developed by NASA using lower
energy lasers, and under a NASA-NEI Inter Agency Agreement, has been successfully developed
into a clinical device at the NEI. We recently conducted pilot studies to evaluate the
usefulness and reproducibility of this instrument for quantitating human lens changes, and
found good reproducibility. We also derived a useful parameter to use with this new
technique, the log mean particle size, derived from particle size distribution data.
Preliminary studies have also shown that the NASA-NEI DLS device can be used to detect and
monitor molecular changes in early cataract formation as well as in normal aging. We
therefore propose to conduct a larger cross sectional clinical study to detect and monitor
molecular changes in the lens in early cataract formation and in normal aging.
Patients aged 18-80 years will be admitted to this study. There will be no racial or
gender bias in the recruitment.
227 patients with AREDS nuclear cataract grades 2 or less will be enrolled in the study.
40 patients with AREDS nuclear cataract grade 3 and 4 will also be enrolled.
For those patients enrolled in the study, both eyes will be evaluated for this protocol.
However, the participant has the right to choose to undergo measurements only in one eye.
In that case, the eye to be examined will be determined by the partipantt's birth month.
If the patient's birth month is an even number, the right eye will be examined; if the
patient's birth month is odd, the left eye will be examined.
Subjects who have tear film disorders, corneal opacities or disorders, uveitis, glaucoma
or who have difficulty fixating, will be excluded.
Subjects who are thought to be at risk for an adverse reaction to pupil dilation, or have
a history of allergic reaction to one of the dilating agents that will be used, will be