Experimental myopia in tree shrews.

Academic Article


  • When deprived of form vision during postnatal development, tree shrews reliably develop an axial myopia characterized by elongation of the vitreous chamber, zonular dysplasia and a slight reduction in lens weight and thickness. Corneal flattening has been observed in animals visually deprived by eyelid suture but is absent in animals visually deprived with an opaque goggle. The sensitive period for myopia development starts about 15 days after the eyes open and sensitivity remains high for about 3-4 weeks thereafter. Recovery from experimental myopia can occur in tree shrews that are visually deprived using goggles for a short period. Blockade of action potentials from ganglion cells in deprived eyes by intravitreal injections of tetrodotoxin (TTX) does not prevent the development of myopia, suggesting that local retinoscleral mechanisms can contribute to experimental myopia in this species. Open eyes receiving intravitreal injections of either saline or TTX have shorter vitreous chambers than control eyes, suggesting that puncturing the globe reduces forces within the eye that contribute to its expansion. Animals treated intraperitoneally with lathyritic agents to block collagen cross-linking for three weeks during a 75-day period of monocular visual deprivation develop a very large myopia in the visually deprived eye that is accompanied by a large vitreous chamber elongation and marked thinning of the posterior sclera. The results from studies in tree shrews are consistent with the suggestion that an internally driven expansion acts in concert with ocular growth to increase the axial length of the eye, helping to move the eye from hyperopia toward emmetropia. The resistance of the sclera and/or choroid to this expansion may be affected by activity within the retina. Increased retinal activity associated with achieving a clear image on the retina may result in increased resistance to expansion, helping to hold the retina at the focal plane. Recovery may occur by a slowing of axial expansion while the optical surfaces proceed toward adult values.
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  • Norton TT
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  • 155