Aberrations and myopia

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2005 Jul;25(4):285-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2005.00297.x.


It has been suggested that high levels of axial aberration or specific patterns of peripheral refraction could play a role in myopia development. Possible mechanisms involving high levels of retinal image blur caused by axial aberrations include form deprivation through poor retinal image quality in distance vision, enhanced accommodative lags favouring compensatory eye growth, and an absence of adequate directional cues to guide emmetropization. In addition, in initially emmetropic eyes, hyperopia in the retinal periphery may result in local compensatory eye growth, which induces axial myopia. Evidence in support of these ideas is reviewed and it is concluded that, for any fixed pupil diameter, evidence for higher levels of axial aberration in myopes in comparison with other refractive groups is weak, making involvement of axial aberrations in myopization through image degradation at the fovea unlikely. If, however, some potential myopes had unusually large pupil diameters, their effective aberration levels and associated retinal blur would be larger than those of the rest of the population. There is stronger evidence in favour of differences in patterns of peripheral refraction in both potential and existing myopes, with myopes tending to show relative hyperopia in the periphery. These differences appear to be related to a more prolate eyeball shape. Longitudinal studies are required to confirm whether the retinal defocus associated with the peripheral hyperopia can cause patterns of eyeball growth which lead to axial myopia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accommodation, Ocular / physiology
  • Cues
  • Distance Perception / physiology
  • Form Perception / physiology
  • Fovea Centralis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperopia / physiopathology
  • Myopia / etiology*
  • Myopia / physiopathology
  • Pupil / physiology
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology
  • Retina / physiopathology*