PRK-induced anisometropia in the rabbit as a model of myopia

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1999 Feb;237(2):161-5. doi: 10.1007/s004170050212.


Background: Current animal models of myopia, such as the chick and the tree shrew, have characteristics that limit their applicability to human myopia and/or their use among researchers. The purpose of this study was to establish a rabbit model of myopia based on photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)-induced anisometropia.

Methods: A group of five pigmented rabbits was treated with a monocular -5 D PRK at 5 weeks of age. At 10 weeks of age, two of the eyes were retreated with a second -5 D PRK procedure to compensate for partial regression of the refractive effect. A second group of six pigmented rabbits was treated with a monocular -6 D PRK at 10 weeks of age. Longitudinal measurements of corneal curvature, refraction, and axial length were performed until the rabbits were 13 and 21 weeks of age in groups 1 and 2, respectively. The rabbits in each group were from the same litter.

Results: Keratometry and retinoscopy measurements confirmed the refractive effect of the PRK procedures. At the final measurement point in group 1, the PRK-treated eyes were significantly longer than the untreated eyes (16.01 +/- 0.45 mm vs 15.45 +/- 0.56 mm). In group 2, the PRK-treated eyes were significantly longer by 0.19 mm and 0.20 mm at ages 19 and 21 weeks, respectively.

Conclusions: PRK-induced anisometropia is an effective technique to induce hyperopic error compensation in the rabbit as a model of myopic development. The technique is effective if the PRK procedure is performed at either 5 or 10 weeks of age. However, after PRK at 5 weeks of age, partial retreatment may be necessary due to regression of the PRK effect.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisometropia / etiology*
  • Anisometropia / pathology
  • Anthropometry
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Cornea / surgery
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eye / pathology
  • Lasers, Excimer
  • Myopia / etiology*
  • Myopia / pathology
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy / adverse effects*
  • Rabbits
  • Refraction, Ocular