The sclera and myopia

Exp Eye Res. 2006 Feb;82(2):185-200. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2005.08.009. Epub 2005 Oct 3.


Myopia is a very common ocular problem, affecting perhaps one billion people worldwide. Most myopia is produced by lengthening of the vitreous chamber of the ocular globe. High myopia is characterized by scleral thinning and localized ectasia of the posterior sclera. The sclera is a dense, fibrous, viscoelastic connective tissue that forms the outer coat of the eye and consists of irregularly arranged lamellae of collagen fibrils interspersed with proteoglycans and non-collagenous glycoproteins. Scleral fibroblasts are located between scleral lamellae, and are responsible for synthesizing the extracellular matrix in which they reside. Research highlighted in this review clearly demonstrates that the sclera is not a static container of the eye, but rather is a dynamic tissue, capable of altering extracellular matrix composition and its biomechanical properties in response to changes in the visual environment to regulate ocular size and refraction. Based on these studies, a strategy directed at reversing myopia-associated scleral extracellular matrix remodeling events would be warranted, particularly in cases of high myopia in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Models, Animal
  • Myopia / embryology
  • Myopia / metabolism
  • Myopia / pathology*
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Sclera / embryology
  • Sclera / metabolism
  • Sclera / pathology*


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Proteoglycans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases