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Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2012 May;32(3):184-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00906.x. Epub 2012 Apr 9.

Eye shape and retinal shape, and their relation to peripheral refraction.

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School of Optometry and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.



  We provide an account of the relationships between eye shape, retinal shape and peripheral refraction.


  We discuss how eye and retinal shapes may be described as conicoids, and we describe an axis and section reference system for determining shapes. Explanations are given of how patterns of retinal expansion during the development of myopia may contribute to changing patterns of peripheral refraction, and how pre-existing retinal shape might contribute to the development of myopia. Direct and indirect techniques for determining eye and retinal shape are described, and results are discussed. There is reasonable consistency in the literature of eye length increasing at a greater rate than height and width as the degree of myopia increases, so that eyes may be described as changing from oblate/spherical shapes to prolate shapes. However, one study indicates that the retina itself, while showing the same trend, remains oblate in shape for most eyes (discounting high myopia). Eye shape and retinal shape are not the same and merely describing an eye shape as being prolate or oblate is insufficient without some understanding of the parameters contributing to this; in myopia a prolate eye shape is likely to involve both a steepening retina near the posterior pole combined with a flattening (or a reduction in steepening compared with an emmetrope) away from the pole.


  In the recent literature, eye and/or retinal shape have often been inferred from peripheral refraction, and, to a lesser extent, vice versa. Because both the eye's optics and the retinal shape contribute to the peripheral refraction, and there is large variation in the latter, this inference should be made cautiously. Recently retinal shape has been measured independent of optical methods using magnetic resonance imaging. For further work on retinal shape, determining the validity of cheaper alternatives to magnetic resonance techniques is required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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