A single layer of epithelial cells covers the anterior surface of the lens. These cells have full metabolic capacity and play the primary role in regulating the water and ion balance of the entire lens. Although the cells of the central epithelium are not mitotically active, a germinative zone exists as a ring anterior to the equator, where the epithelial cells divide. The new cells migrate toward the equator and begin to differentiate into lens fibers (see Fig 10-1). In the adult lens, epithelial cells are not normally found posterior to the equator.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 2 - Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.