The structure, function and optical properties of lenses were analysed from atomic to millimetre length scales. We measured the short-range order of the lens crystallin proteins using Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) at both the SPring-8 and DIAMOND synchrotrons, the profile of the graded refractive index generated by these proteins, the epithelial cell density and organisation and finally the focal length of each lens.
The results showed no evidence of a difference between the focal length, the epithelial cell densities, the refractive indices, the interference functions and the short-range order of crystallin proteins (X-ray diffraction patterns) in lens from fish exposed to different radiation doses. It could be argued that animals in the natural environment which developed cataract would be more likely, for example, to suffer predation leading to survivor bias. But the cross-length scale study presented here, by evaluating small scale molecular and cellular changes in the lens (pre-cataract formation) significantly mitigates against this issue.