SSB IMAGE INDEX
The lens is basically two layers of epithelium. In the front (i.e., toward the cornea) is a simple cuboidal epithelium. Behind that is an extremely exaggerated simple columnar epithelium. Each of the columnar cells extends across the entire thickness of the lens and constitutes a lens fiber, packed with lens protein. Because the lens fibers are so extremely long, this organization can be difficult to visualize microscopically in a mature lens, except at the radial margin of the lens (as shown above).
It is easier to appreciate the pattern in an embryonic eye, where the lens forms as a "bubble" of epithelium. The front layer matures as a simple cuboidal epithelium, while the back layer matures into the lens fibers.
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Last updated: 30 November 2004 / dgk