Comparison of refractive state and circumferential morphology of retina, choroid, and sclera in chick models of experimentally induced ametropia

Optom Vis Sci. 2001 Jan;78(1):40-9. doi: 10.1097/00006324-200101010-00013.


Purpose: Simultaneous comparisons of the circumferential morphological tissue profiles and final refractions from form-deprivation myopia (FDM), defocus-induced myopia (DIM), and defocus-induced hyperopia (DIH) models of ametropia have been made to test the hypothesis that changes in the thickness profiles of the three coats of the eye, and particularly that of the choroid, can be predicted from the degree of induced refractive error.

Methods: Hatchling chickens (n = 23) were raised for 2 weeks wearing either a monocular translucent diffuser (FDM, n = 8), monocular -10.00 D lens goggle (DIM, n = 7), monocular +10.00 D lens goggle (DIH, n = 7), or nothing (Norm, n = 1). All animals were refracted using retinoscopy and were then sacrificed, and whole eyes were processed for scanning electron microscopy. Retinal, choroidal, and cartilaginous sclera (CS) thickness measurements were made from photographic collages of the entire circumference of the globe. Of the 23 chickens, complete morphological profile data were available for both eyes of 10 animals (nine treated and one normal). The contralateral fellow eyes (FEyes) of all nine experimental chickens were used as experimental controls as paired comparisons for statistical analyses.

Results: Morphological profiles of control and experimental eyes revealed significant systematic regional variations in tissue thickness. This variation was related to nasal or temporal eccentricity with the nasal side generally thinner than the temporal. Retinal, choroidal, and CS tissue from FDM and DIM eyes showed very similar anatomical responses despite significantly different degrees of refractive change. DIH eyes showed significant increases in choroidal thickness but none in retinal or CS thickness. Analysis of fellow control eyes indicated that in both myopia models (FDM and DIM), significant changes in all tissues of the untreated fellow eyes occur whereas only the choroid of the fellow eye was affected in the hyperopic (DIH) model.

Conclusions: The morphological similarity observed in the circumferential profiles of the retina, choroid, and cartilaginous sclera of the FDM and DIM eyes despite approximately 20 D difference in final refraction suggests that choroidal thickness is not a good predictor of final refractive error across models. Similarly, the final refractive difference of approximately 20 D between the DIM and the DIH eyes did not receive a major contribution from the final difference in choroidal thickness (with its implied effect on vitreous chamber length).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Choroid / ultrastructure*
  • Disease Progression
  • Hypertrophy
  • Refraction, Ocular*
  • Refractive Errors / pathology*
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology
  • Retina / ultrastructure*
  • Sclera / ultrastructure*