Purpose: Differences in the spectral composition of lighting between indoor and outdoor scenes may contribute to the higher prevalence of myopia in children who spend low amounts of time outdoors. Our goal was to determine whether environments dominated by long-wavelength light promote the development of myopia.
Methods: Beginning at 25 ± 2 days of age, infant monkeys were reared with long-wavelength-pass (red) filters in front of one (MRL, n = 6) or both eyes (BRL, n = 7). The filters were worn continuously until 146 ± 7 days of age. Refractive development, corneal power, and vitreous chamber depth were assessed by retinoscopy, keratometry, and ultrasonography, respectively. Control data were obtained from 6 monkeys reared with binocular neutral density (ND) filters and 33 normal monkeys reared with unrestricted vision under typical indoor lighting.
Results: At the end of the filter-rearing period, the median refractive error for the BRL monkeys (+4.25 diopters [D]) was significantly more hyperopic than that for the ND (+2.22 D; P = 0.003) and normal monkeys (+2.38 D; P = 0.0001). Similarly, the MRL monkeys exhibited hyperopic anisometropias that were larger than those in normal monkeys (+1.70 ± 1.55 vs. -0.013 ± 0.33 D, P < 0.0001). The relative hyperopia in the treated eyes was associated with shorter vitreous chambers. Following filter removal, the filter-reared monkeys recovered from the induced hyperopic errors.
Conclusions: The observed hyperopic shifts indicate that emmetropization does not necessarily target the focal plane that maximizes luminance contrast and that reducing potential chromatic cues can interfere with emmetropization. There was no evidence that environments dominated by long wavelengths necessarily promote myopia development.