The pathophysiologic mechanisms responsible for the clinical features of the anophthalmic socket are poorly understood. Atrophy of orbital fat has been thought to be a major contributing cause of enophthalmos and the superior sulcus deformities that develop after enucleation, but it has never been demonstrated histopathologically or confirmed by scientific analysis. This study was undertaken to investigate the changes that occur in the orbital fat compartment of the anophthalmic socket in an animal model by measuring orbital soft tissue mass and evaluating adipocyte cell size. Instead of reduction in the tissue mass, a statistically significant greater weight of the fat and connective tissue compartment was found in the anophthalmic orbit by nearly 13% compared to the control orbit in the animals in the long-term group. No significant change in the mean maximal diameter of adipocytes developed 7 months after enucleation. These analyses do not support the concept that orbital fat atrophy or a reduction of metabolic activity occurs in the anophthalmic socket in this animal model. From these results and our previous findings that the circulation dynamics and blood flow to orbital tissues do not change after enucleation, we propose that the pathophysiologic basis of the problems associated with anophthalmos is a disturbance in the spatial architecture and interrelationships of the multiple tissue components of the orbit, not a change in the orbital blood flow or development of fat atrophy.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DF45900002
View details for PubMedID 2285670