Retinoic acid signals the direction of ocular elongation in the guinea pig eye

Vision Res. 2004 Mar;44(7):643-53. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2003.11.002.


A growing eye becomes myopic after form deprivation (FD) or compensates for the power and sign of imposed spectacle lenses. A possible mediator of the underlying growth changes is all-trans retinoic acid (RA). Eye elongation and refractive error (RE) was manipulated by raising guinea pigs with FD, or a spectacle lens worn on one eye. We found retinal-RA increased in myopic eyes with accelerated elongation and was lower in eyes with inhibited elongation. RA levels in the choroid/sclera combined mirrored these directional changes. Feeding RA (25 mg/kg) repeatedly to guinea pigs, also resulted in rapid eye elongation (up to 5 times normal), and yet the RE was not effected. In conclusion, RA may act as a signal for the direction of ocular growth.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Eye / growth & development*
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Eye / pathology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Models, Animal
  • Myopia / metabolism
  • Myopia / pathology
  • Myopia / physiopathology
  • Refractive Errors
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage*
  • Tretinoin / analysis
  • Tretinoin / metabolism
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology


  • Tretinoin