Prevalence of astigmatism in infant monkeys

Chea Su Kee, Li Fang Hung, Ying Qiao, Amro Habib, Earl L. Smith

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Human infants exhibit a high prevalence of astigmatism. Although macaque monkeys are commonly used as animal models in experiments on early ocular growth and emmetropization, the prevalence of astigmatism in infant monkeys is unexplored. In this study we examine the prevalence and nature of astigmatism in infant monkeys. Methods: Refractive and corneal astigmatism were measured in 132, 2-5-week-old rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) using cycloplegic retinoscopy and keratometry, respectively. Longitudinal measures of refractive development were obtained from 16 normal infants over the first 6 months of life. Results: Infant monkeys exhibited a low prevalence of astigmatism. Approximately 90% of the 2-5-week-old infants had <1.00 D of either refractive or corneal astigmatism. When refractive astigmatism was observed, it was well correlated with the direction and magnitude of corneal astigmatism. When corneal astigmatism was >1.00 D (n=20), it was predominantly against-the-rule in nature (70.0%). The infant monkeys that were followed longitudinally rarely showed significant astigmatic errors at any time during the observation period. When these infant monkeys exhibited significant astigmatism, it was usually transient and not present on subsequent measurements. Conclusions: Unlike human infants, infant monkeys exhibit relatively little astigmatism. The low prevalence of astigmatism during early development suggests that astigmatism does not provide an essential cue for vision-dependent eye growth in infant primates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1359
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Ametropia
  • Development
  • Emmetropization
  • Primate
  • Refractive error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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