Purpose: To determine whether progressive ametropia can be induced in chicks and reversed by manipulation of the chromaticity of ambient light.
Methods: One-day-old chicks were raised in red light (90% red, 10% yellow-green) or in blue light (85% blue, 15% green) with a 12 hour on/off cycle for 14 to 42 days. Refraction was determined by streak retinoscopy, and by automated infrared photoretinoscopy and ocular biometry by A-scan ultrasonography.
Results: Red light induced progressive myopia (mean refraction ± SD at 28 days, -2.83 ± 0.25 diopters [D]). Progressive hyperopia was induced by blue light (mean refraction at 28 days, +4.55 ± 0.21 D). The difference in refraction between the groups was highly significant at P < 0.001. Induced myopia or hyperopia was axial as confirmed by ultrasound biometry. Myopia induced by 21 days of red light (-2.21 ± 0.21 D) was reversed to hyperopia (+2.50 ± 0.29 D) by subsequent 21 days of blue light. Hyperopia induced by 21 days of blue light (+4.21 ± 0.19 D) was reversed to myopia (-1.23 ± 0.12 D) by 21 days of red light.
Conclusions: Rearing chicks in red light caused progressive myopia, while rearing in blue light caused progressive hyperopia. Light-induced myopia or hyperopia in chicks can be reversed to hyperopia or myopia, respectively, by an alteration in the chromaticity of ambient light. Manipulation of chromaticity may be applicable to the management of human childhood myopia.
Keywords: animal model; myopia; refractive error.