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Exp Eye Res. 1989 Apr;48(4):523-7.

Functional morphology of accommodation in the raccoon.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, F.R.G.


The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a small carnivore which eats in the upright position, using hand- and finger-like front paws and digits to wash, hold and examine its food at close range. These anatomic and behavioral characteristics prompted structural and functional studies of the accommodative capability of this species. By light and electron microscopy, we observed a prominent ciliary smooth muscle and zonular apparatus. When stimulated by carbachol or pilocarpine, the muscle and zonular apparatus exhibited a shift from longitudinal to reticular or circular orientation of some ciliary muscle bundles, anterior movement of the muscle as a whole, and more oblique crossing of the zonular fiber bundles in the zonular plexus. Maximum carbachol-induced accommodative amplitude measured by coincidence refractometry ranged from 3 to 19 diopters in these 1 to 9 yr old animals, with no definite age-accommodation relationship. A-scan ultrasonographic biometry showed that during accommodation the lens thickened very little, if at all, but moved anteriorly, while the apparent cornea to retina distance increased slightly. The raccoon thus exhibits the greatest accommodative capability of any non-primate terrestrial mammal so far studied.

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