Purpose: The selective muscarinic antagonist pirenzepine inhibits experimentally induced myopia in avian and mammalian species, including nonhuman primates and adolescent humans. Transient positive lens defocus has a potent inhibitory effect on negative-lens-induced myopia in avian and mammalian models. The purpose of the present study was to determine the influence of daily treatment with pirenzepine on ocular growth and refractive error in chicks wearing positive lenses.
Methods: The chicks were allocated to one of eight groups (n = 6 each group) on the basis of whether they wore +10 or -10 D lenses monocularly and whether they received daily intravitreal injections of pirenzepine (700 μg) or vehicle (phosphate-buffered saline) in the lens-defocused eye. In vivo refractive and biometric data were collected, and glycosaminoglycan synthesis in the sclera was assessed.
Results: Pirenzepine did not alter the level of positive-lens-induced hyperopia in chicks wearing +10 D lenses compared with that in the vehicle control group (+8.1 ± 0.6 D vs. +8.9 ± 2.4 D, mean ± SEM; P = 0.76). In contrast, pirenzepine caused significant inhibition of negative-lens-induced myopia compared with that in the vehicle group (-1.1 ± 1.5 D vs. -8.8 ± 1.1 D; P = 0.001). Glycosaminoglycan synthesis in the posterior sclera was significantly increased in the negative-lens-treated groups and showed small decreases in the positive-lens-treated groups.
Conclusions: The influence of pirenzepine on ocular growth in chicks differed by sign of lens defocus, with pirenzepine blocking negative-lens effects on ocular growth, but not positive-lens effects. The most likely reason that hyperopia was not enhanced by pirenzepine treatment was that the rapid compensatory eye growth associated with positive lenses eliminated the imposed myopic defocus, and the clear retinal image prevented any additional hyperopia from developing.