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Scleral changes induced by atropine in chicks as an experimental model of myopia


Correspondence: Patricia Gallego Muñoz

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To determine the effects of intravitreal atropine on scleral growth in the form-deprived chick as an experimental model of myopia.


Five groups of five chicks were studied from day 0–12 post-hatching. One group remained untreated (C), and four were form-deprived by monocular light diffusers to induce myopia. Two groups (RL and A) wore diffusers for 9 days, and the other two groups (D and D + A) wore diffusers throughout the study. Group D received no further treatment (myopia positive control). Groups A and D + A received intravitreal injections of atropine for days 9–12. Measurements of refractive error and axial length were performed on days 0, 9, and 12. Sclera changes were assessed in cartilaginous and fibrous layers by histological analysis.


All form-deprived eyes had a myopic refractive error on day 9. All atropine-treated groups were hyperopic on day 12. The effect of atropine was most evident in Group D + A in which diffusers were maintained throughout treatment and changes in refractive error were statistically significant. The observed changes in axial length were in line with the changes in refractive error. The scleral fibrous layer thickness increased, and the sceral cartilaginous layer underwent a slight thinning compared to Group D, the myopia positive control.


If the signals that induce growth remain during atropine treatment, morphological changes in sclera are produced: the scleral fibrous layer thickened, and the sceral cartilaginous layer thinned. These changes resulted in refractive error recovery, and the ocular growth was stopped. The data suggested the atropine was acting throughout the scleral fibrous layer.

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