Ocular biometric correlates of early-and late-onset myopia.
Myopia is a refractive condition and develops because either the optical power of the eye is abnormally great or the eye is abnormally long, the optical consequences being that the focal length of the eye is too short for the physical length of the eye. The increase in axial length has been shown to match closely the dioptric error of the eye, in that a lmm increase in axial length usually generates 2 to 3D of myopia. The most common form of myopia is early-onset myopia (EO M) which occurs between 6 to 14 years of age. The second most common form of myopia is late-onset myopia (LOM) which emerges in late teens or early twenties, at a time when the eye should have ceased growing. The prevalence of LOM is increasing and research has indicated a link with excessive and sustained nearwork. The aim of this thesis was to examine the ocular biometric correlates associated with LOM and EOM development and progression. Biometric data was recorded on SO subjects, aged 16 to 26 years. The group was divided into 26 emmetropic subjects and 24 myopic subjects. Keratometry, corneal topography, ultrasonography, lens shape, central and peripheral refractive error, ocular blood flow and assessment of accommodation were measured on three occasions during an ISmonth to 2-year longitudinal study. Retinal contours were derived using a specially derived computer program. The thesis shows that myopia progression is related to an increase in vitreous chamber depth, a finding which supports previous work. The myopes exhibited hyperopic relative peripheral refractive error (PRE) and the emmetropes exhibited myopic relative PRE. Myopes demonstrated a prolate retinal shape and the retina became more prolate with myopia progression. The results show that a longitudinal, rather than equatorial, increase in the posterior segment is the principal structural correlate of myopia. Retinal shape, relative PRE and the ratio of axial length to corneal curvature have been indicated, in this thesis, as predictive factors for myopia onset and development. Data from this thesis demonstrates that myopia progression in the LOM group is the result of an increase in anterior segment power, owing to an increase in lens thickness, in conjunction with posterior segment elongation. Myopia progression in the EOM group is the product of a long posterior segment, which over-compensates for a weak anterior segment power. The weak anterior segment power in the EOM group is related to a combination of crystalline lens thinning and surface flattening. The results presented in this thesis confirm that posterior segment elongation is the main structural correlate in both EOM and LOM progression. The techniques and computer programs employed in the thesis are reproducible and robust providing a valuable framework for further myopia research and assessment of predictive factors.