Stimulus Requirements for the Decoding of Myopic and Hyperopic Defocus under Single and Competing Defocus Conditions in the Chicken

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (Impact Factor: 3.4). 08/2005; 46(7):2242-52. DOI: 10.1167/iovs.04-1200
Source: PubMed


The bidirectional nature of emmetropization, as observed in young chicks, implies that eyes are able to distinguish between myopic and hyperopic focusing errors. In the current study the spatial frequency and contrast dependence of this process were investigated in an experimental paradigm that allowed strict control over both parameters of the retinal image. Also investigated was the influence of accommodation.
Defocusing stimuli were presented through lens-cone devices with attached targets. These devices were monocularly applied to 5-day-old chickens for 4 days. Defocus conditions included: (1) 7 D of myopic defocus, (2) 7 D of hyperopic defocus, and (3) a combination of the two. Two high contrast target designs, a spatially rich, striped Maltese cross (target 1) and a standard Maltese cross (target 2) were used, except in some experiments where target contrast or spatial frequency content was further manipulated. To test the role of accommodation, the treated eye of some chicks underwent ciliary nerve section before attachment of the device. Refractive error (RE) was measured by retinoscopy and axial ocular dimensions measured by A-scan ultrasonography, both in chicks under anesthesia.
With imposed myopic defocus and high contrast, target 1 elicited significantly better compensation than did target 2. With imposed hyperopic defocus, both targets elicited near normal compensatory responses. Reducing image contrast to 32% for target 2 and to 16% for target 1 precluded compensation for myopic defocus, inducing myopia instead. The low-pass-filtered target also induced myopia, irrespective of the sign of imposed defocus. With competing defocus and intact accommodation, target 1 induced a transient hyperopic growth response, whereas myopia was consistently observed with target 2. When accommodation was rendered inactive, both targets induced myopia under these competitive conditions.
Compensation to myopic defocus is critically dependent on the inclusion of middle to high spatial frequencies in the stimulus and has a spatial frequency-dependent threshold contrast requirement. With competing myopic and hyperopic defocus, the former transiently dominates the latter as a determinant of ocular growth, provided that the stimulus conditions include sufficient middle to high spatial frequency information and that accommodation cues are available.

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    • "However, our results do not follow the predictions of this model -of increased rates of axial elongation with the 0.6 and 0.1 filters, as well as differences between the growth enhancing effects of all filters. Instead, our results suggest that emmetropization is relatively insensitive to retinal image contrast degradation, consistent with the findings of studies by Schmid and Wildsoet (1997) and Diether and Wildsoet (2005). It is possible that this apparent insensitivity of emmetropization to contrast degradation is an effect of retinal contrast adaptation, which would lessen the effect on retinal activity of switching from the 0.6 filter to the 0.1 filter. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study sought further insight into the stimulus dependence of form deprivation myopia, a common response to retinal image degradation in young animals. Each of 4 Bangerter diffusing filters (0.6, 0.1, <0.1, and LP (light perception only)) combined with clear plano lenses, as well as plano lenses alone, were fitted monocularly to 4-day-old chicks. Axial ocular dimensions and refractive errors were monitored over a 14-day treatment period, using high frequency A-scan ultrasonography and an autorefractor, respectively. Only the <0.1 and LP filters induced significant form deprivation myopia; these filters induced similarly large myopic shifts in refractive error (mean interocular differences+/-SEM: -9.92+/-1.99, -7.26+/-1.60 D, respectively), coupled to significant increases in both vitreous chamber depths and optical axial lengths (p<0.001). The other 3 groups showed comparable, small changes in their ocular dimensions (p>0.05), and only small myopic shifts in refraction (<3.00 D). The myopia-inducing filters eliminated mid-and-high spatial frequency information. Our results are consistent with emmetropization being tuned to mid-spatial frequencies. They also imply that form deprivation is not a graded phenomenon.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2008 · Vision Research
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    • "These results are interesting in that they indicate that the growth signals generated by plus lenses are more robust than those generated by the CL conditions which promote scleral growth and choroidal thinning. In this respect, there is a parallel between the responses to CL and minus lenses (hyperopic defocus), both of which fail in competition with plus lenses (myopic defocus) (Winawer and Wallman 2002;Diether and Wildsoet 2005 "
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    ABSTRACT: While rearing chicks in constant light (CL) inhibits anterior segment growth, these conditions also induce excessive enlargement of the vitreous chamber. The mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly understood although it has been speculated that the enlarged vitreous chambers are a product of emmetropization, a compensatory response to the altered anterior segments. We examined the ability of eyes to compensate to defocusing lenses in CL as a direct test of their ability to emmetropize. We also studied recovery responses, i.e. from lens-induced changes in CL as well as CL-induced changes alone or combined with lens-induced changes in eyes returned to normal diurnal lighting (NL).
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    ABSTRACT: The growth of the eye, unlike other parts of the body, is not ballistic. It is guided by visual feedback with the eventual aim being optimal focus of the retinal image or emmetropization . It has been shown in animal models that interference with the quality of the retinal image leads to a disruption to the normal growth pattern, resulting in the development of refractive errors and defocused retinal images . While it is clear that retinal images rich in pattern information are needed to control eye growth, it is unclear what particular aspect of image structure is relevant. Retinal images comprise a range of spatial frequencies at different absolute and relative contrasts and in different degrees of spatial alignment. Here we show, by using synthetic images, that it is not the local edge structure produced by relative spatial frequency alignments within an image but rather the spatial frequency composition per se that is used to regulate the growth of the eye. Furthermore, it is the absolute energy at high spatial frequencies regardless of the spectral slope that is most effective. Neither result would be expected from currently accepted ideas of how human observers judge the degree of image "blur" in a scene where both phase alignments and the relative energy distribution across spatial frequency (i.e., spectral slope) are important.
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