Accommodation, refractive error and eye growth in chickens

Vision Res. 1988;28(5):639-57. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(88)90113-7.


We raised chickens with defocusing lenses of differing powers in front of their eyes. For this purpose, small hoods made from soft, thin leather were carefully fitted to their heads. Lenses were attached to the hoods by velcro fasteners and could be easily removed for cleaning. The powers of the lenses were such that their optical effects could be compensated for by accommodation. It was verified by infrared (IR) photoretinoscopy that the chickens could keep their retinal images in focus. Wearing a lens resulted in a consistent shift of the non cycloplegic refractive state (measured without the lens) which was in the direction to compensate for the lens. We used a sensitive technique (precision = +/- 50 micron as estimated from the variability of repeated measurements) to measure the posterior nodal distance (PND) in excised eyes of birds grown with lenses. The PND, in turn, was used to compare eyes treated with different lenses. It was found that the PND was increased in eyes which were treated with negative lenses compared to those treated with positive lenses. This effect occurs independently in both eyes and it is not due to changes in corneal curvature. We discuss our result in terms of a closed-loop feedback system for the regulation of eye growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accommodation, Ocular*
  • Animals
  • Biometry
  • Chickens
  • Cornea / physiopathology
  • Eye / growth & development*
  • Lens, Crystalline / physiopathology
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology*