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Vision Res. 1995 Jan;35(1):37-50.

Moving the retina: choroidal modulation of refractive state.

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  • 1Department of Biology, City College, City University of New York, NY 10031.


The chick eye is able to change its refractive state by as much as 7 D by pushing the retina forward or pulling it back; this is effected by changes in the thickness of the choroid, the vascular tissue behind the retina and pigment epithelium. Chick eyes first made myopic by wearing diffusers and then permitted unrestricted vision developed choroids several times thicker than normal within days, thereby speeding recovery from deprivation myopia. Choroidal expansion does not occur when visual cues are reduced by dim illumination during the period of unrestricted vision. Furthermore, in chick eyes presented with myopic or hyperopic defocus by means of spectacle lenses, the choroid expands or thins, respectively, in compensation for the specific defocus imposed. Consequently, when the lenses are removed, the eye finds its refractive error suddenly of opposite sign, and the choroidal thickness again compensates by changing in the opposite direction. If a local region of the eye is made myopic by a partial diffuser and then given unrestricted vision, the choroid expands only in the myopic region. Although the mechanism of choroidal expansion is unknown, it might involve either a increased routing of aqueous humor into the uveoscleral outflow or osmotically generated water movement into the choroid. The latter is compatible with the increased choroidal proteoglycan synthesis either when eyes wear positive lenses or after diffuser removal.

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