PURPOSE. Given the prominence of central vision in humans, it has been assumed that visual signals from the fovea dominate emmetropization. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of peripheral vision on emmetropization. METHODS. Bilateral, peripheral form deprivation was produced in 12 infant monkeys by rearing them with diffusers that had either 4- or 8-mm apertures centered on the pupils of each eye, to allow 24° or 37° of unrestricted central vision, respectively. At the end of the lens-rearing period, an argon laser was used to ablate the fovea in one eye of each of seven monkeys. Subsequently, all the animals were allowed unrestricted vision. Refractive error and axial dimensions were measured along the pupillary axis by retinoscopy and A-scan ultrasonography, respectively. Control data were obtained from 21 normal monkeys and 3 infants reared with binocular piano lenses. RESULTS. Nine of the 12 treated monkeys had refractive errors that fell outside the 10th- and 90th-percentile limits for the age-matched control subjects, and the average refractive error for the treated animals was more variable and significantly less hyperopic/more myopic (+0.03 ± 2.39 D vs. + 2.39 ± 0.92 D). The refractive changes were symmetric in the two eyes of a given animal and axial in nature. After lens removal, all the treated monkeys recovered from the induced refractive errors. No interocular differences in the recovery process were observed in the animals with monocular foveal lesions. CONCLUSIONS. On the one hand, the peripheral retina can contribute to emmetropizing responses and to ametropias produced by an abnormal visual experience. On the other hand, unrestricted central vision is not sufficient to ensure normal refractive development, and the fovea is not essential for emmetropizing responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience