Cow Eyeball Lens Preservation

  1. Hi, I was thinking about getting a lens from a cow eyeball dissection kit. I was wondering if I need to do anything special to prevent it from decomposing. What exactly is it made of?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    I'm sorry you are not finding help at the moment. Is there any additional information you can share with us?
     
  4. Well, I would like to get a lens from a cow eyeball dissection kit and store it for demonstration purposes for say 5+ years. I assume it is made of something like collagen and needs a special liquid for such storage, like formaldehyde. I believe this process is known as "fixation", and the chemical used a "fixative." My concern is that the fixative would distort or colorize the lens in such a way as to render it unable to demonstrate the refraction of light when say, placed on a page of text.
     
  5. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,532
    Science Advisor

    The lens in an eyeball is made up primarily of the protein crystallin. Interestingly, once the lens is made, the proteins do not turnover over the lifetime of the organism, meaning that the structure is remarkably stable. Therefore, storing the structure at room temperature (or even 37oC) would be fine for preserving the lens. I would avoid fixation as this would likely damage the lens, and I would also avoid storing the lenses in the cold as cold temperatures can denature the crystallin proteins and damage the lens.
     
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