Autonomic, biometric and oculomotor correlates of myopia in young adults

  • Edward A.H. Mallen

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The principal work reported in this thesis is the examination of autonomic profile of ciliary muscle innervation as a risk factor in myopia development. Deficiency in sympathetic inhibitory control of accommodation has been proposed as a contributory factor in the development of late onset myopia (LOM). Complementary measurements of ocular biometry, oculomotor function and dynamic accommodation response were carried out on the same subject cohort, thus allowing cross-correlation of these factors with. autonomic profile. Subjects were undergraduate and postgraduate students of Aston University. A 2.5 year longitudinal study of refractive error progression in 40 subjects revealed the onset of LOM in 10, initially emmetropic, young adult subjects (age range 18-24 years) undertaking substantial amounts of near work. A controlled, double blind experimental protocol was conducted concurrently to measure post-task open-loop accommodative regression following distance (0 D) or near (3 D above baseline tonic accommodation) closed-loop tasks of short (10 second) or long (3 minute) duration. Closed-loop tasks consisted of observation of a high contrast Maltese cross target; open-loop conditions were imposed by observation of a 0.2 c/deg Difference of Gaussian target. Accommodation responses were recorded continuously at 42 Hz using a modified Shin-Nippon SRW-5000 open-view infra-red optometer. Blockade of the sympathetic branch of accommodative control was achieved by topical instillation of the non-selective b-adrenoceptor antagonist timolol maleate. Betaxolol hydrochloride (non-selective b1-adrenoceptor antagonist) and normal saline were employed as control agents. Retarded open-loop accommodative regression under b2 blockade following the 3 minute near task indicated the presence of sympathetic facility. Sympathetic inhibitory facility in accommodation control was found in similar proportions between LOM and stable emmetropic subjects. A cross-sectional study (N=60) of autonomic profile showed that sympathetic innervation of ciliary muscle is present in similar proportions between emmetropes, early-, and late-onset myopes. Sympathetic facility was identified in 27% of emmetropes, 21% of EOMs and 29% of LOMs.
Date of Award2002
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBernard Gilmartin (Supervisor)


  • autonomic
  • biometric
  • oculomotor
  • correlates
  • myopia
  • young adults

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