The lens has an index of refraction of 1.390, which is higher than that of the surrounding media and a result of its high protein content.
Proteins constitute 33% of the weight of the lens, which is 2–3 times higher than their concentration in other tissues in the body.
The lens relies primarily on glycolysis to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Alterations in this metabolic pathway have been implicated in the development of congenital cataract as well as diabetic cataract.
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.