Comparison of pilocarpine-induced and stimulus-driven accommodation in phakic eyes

Exp Eye Res. 2005 Jun;80(6):795-800. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2004.12.004. Epub 2005 Jan 4.


With the recent introduction of potentially accommodative intraocular lenses (IOL), there is a need for methods to evaluate their accommodative potential. In most studies assessing IOL movement, pilocarpine is used to stimulate contraction of the ciliary muscle. The aim of this study is to determine if pilocarpine-induced ciliary muscle contraction is comparable to physiological stimulus-driven accommodation in young and presbyopic subjects. Ten emmetropic young subjects (23-25 years) and 11 emmetropic presbyopic subjects (51-62 years) were included in this study. Anterior chamber depth (ACD) and lens thickness (LT) were assessed with partial coherence interferometry (PCI). A moveable stimulus was coupled to the PCI equipment for measurement of biometric lens changes. ACD was measured with the stimulus at infinity and then at the subjects individual nearpoint, and after application of two drops of 2% pilocarpine. In young subjects, there was no significant difference in lens change between nearpoint and pilocarpine stimulation. Presbyopic subjects showed no relevant lens change when accommodating at the nearpoint, however, under pharmacologically induced ciliary muscle contraction with pilocarpine, there was a significant forward shift of the anterior and posterior lens pole, leading to a translational forward lens shift of about 150 microm. This study demonstrates that pilocarpine acts "physiologically" in young phakic subjects, but is a "superstimulus" in presbyopic phakic subjects. Therefore, IOL movement may be overestimated when using pilocarpine to stimulate accommodation.

MeSH terms

  • Accommodation, Ocular / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Anterior Chamber / pathology
  • Ciliary Body / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lenses, Intraocular
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscarinic Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects*
  • Pilocarpine / pharmacology*
  • Presbyopia / physiopathology*


  • Muscarinic Agonists
  • Pilocarpine