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The Effect of Spectacle Lenses Containing Peripheral Defocus on Refractive Error and Horizontal Eye Shape in the Guinea PigPeripheral Defocus Affects Central Eye Shape



It has been proposed that the peripheral retina, responding to local optical defocus, contributes to myopia and associated altered eye growth in humans. To test this hypothesis, we measured the changes in central (on-axis) and peripheral ocular dimensions in guinea pigs wearing a concentric bifocal spectacle lens design with power restricted to the periphery.


Five groups of guinea pigs (n = 83) wore either a unifocal (UF) spectacle lens (-4, 0, or +4 Diopters [D]), or a peripheral defocus (PF) spectacle lens that had a plano center (diameter of 5 mm) with either -4 or +4 D in the surround (-4/0 or +4/0 D). The overall optical diameter of all lenses was 12 mm. Lenses were worn over one eye from 8 to 18 days of age for negative and plano lenses, or from 8 to 22 days of age for positive lenses. Refractive error was measured centrally and 30° off-axis in the temporal and nasal retina. The shape of the eye was analyzed from images of sectioned eyes.


Lenses of -4 D UF induced myopia, reflecting enhanced ocular elongation, which was centered on the optic nerve head and included the surrounding peripapillary zone (PPZ, 18° in diameter). Some ocular expansion, including within the PPZ, also was recorded with -4/0 and +4/0 D PF lenses while the +4 D UF lens inhibited rather than enhanced elongation, centrally and peripherally.


Peripheral defocus-induced ocular expansion encompasses the PPZ, irrespective of the sign of the inducing defocus. Understanding the underlying mechanism potentially has important implications for designing multifocal lenses for controlling myopia in humans and also potentially for understanding the link between myopia and glaucoma.

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