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Intact globe inflation testing of changes in scleral mechanics in myopia and recovery


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of myopia-inducing and myopia recovery conditions on the scleral biomechanics of enucleated eyes of young chicks. Enucleated eyes from 5-day old chicks, with fiducial markers attached at 5 locations on the external sclera, were placed in a custom-built chamber filled with phosphate-buffered saline, and subjected to controlled increments in intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP was initially ramped from 15 to 100 mmHg and then maintained at 100 mmHg for one hour, with eyes photographed at a rate of 0.1 Hz over the same period. There were two experimental groups, one in which chicks were monocularly form deprived for four days to induce myopia, and the other in which chicks were allowed two days of recovery from myopia induced by two days of form deprivation. For all chicks, the contralateral (fellow) eyes served as controls. Myopic eyes showed less initial deformation relative to their fellows, while no difference was recorded between recovering eyes and their fellows over the same time frame. With exposure to sustained elevated pressure, eyes in all groups displayed time-dependent changes in creep behavior, which included a linear region of secondary, steady creep. The creep deformation of myopic eyes was significantly higher than that of their fellows, consistent with results of previous studies using uniaxial loading of scleral strips. When allowed only 2 days to recover from induced myopia, previously myopic eyes continued to show increased creep deformation. Compared to results reported in studies involving scleral strips, our whole globe testing yielded higher values for creep rate. Whole globe inflation testing provides a viable, less anatomically disruptive and readily adaptable method for investigating scleral biomechanics than uniaxial tensile strip testing. Furthermore, our results suggest that elastic stretching does not contribute to the increased axial elongation underlying myopia in young chick eyes. They also confirm the very limited involvement of the sclera in the early recovery from myopia, reflecting the well documented lag in scleral versus choroidal recovery responses.

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