Soon after birth, most infants develop the optimal refractive error (i.e., ?clinical? emmetropia) in both eyes that is then maintained throughout childhood and into early adult life. However, for reasons not currently understood, a significant and rapidly increasing proportion of the population develop myopia or nearsightedness. Because of structural changes that take place as the eye becomes myopic, myopia, even low degrees of myopia, pose a significant risk for multiple blinding conditions. As a consequence, myopia is now one of the leading causes of permanent visual impairment in the world. The long-term goal of our research program is to provide a better understanding of the etiology of common forms of myopia (e.g., juvenile onset myopia) and ultimately to develop effective treatment strategies the reduce the burden of myopia.
The specific aims of our proposed research are to determine how visual experience affects refractive development, to characterize the operational properties of the vision-dependent mechanisms that regulate eye growth, and to explore new pharmaceutical approaches to eliminate myopia. Since many of the required experiments can not be conducted in humans, but our purpose is to generate knowledge that can be applied to human development, these experiments will be conducted using rhesus monkeys. Controlled rearing strategies and optical and biometric measurement techniques will be used to determine: 1) the effects of low ambient light levels on emmetropization and vision-dependent changes in eye growth, 2) the influence of the spectral composition of ambient lighting on axial growth and refractive development, and 3) whether adenosine receptor antagonists can retard the development of myopia. The proposed experiments focus on fundamental issues concerning the manner in which visual experience influences refractive development and are an important step in determining how and to what extent visual experience contributes to the genesis of common human refractive errors. More importantly, the results of these studies will potentially provide the scientific foundation for qualitatively new treatment and management strategies for the most common forms of myopia.

Public Health Relevance

Myopia or nearsightedness is a significant public health concern because, in addition to the high costs and the complications associated with traditional optical and surgical correction strategies, myopia can lead to permanent sensory disorders and ocular abnormalities causing blindness. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that the prevalence of myopia, and consequently its impact on society, is increasing rapidly. Hence, effective treatment strategies to prevent or reduce the degree of myopia are urgently needed.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Wiggs, Cheri
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University of Houston
Schools of Optometry/Opht Tech
United States
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Hung, Li-Fang; Arumugam, Baskar; She, Zhihui et al. (2018) Narrow-band, long-wavelength lighting promotes hyperopia and retards vision-induced myopia in infant rhesus monkeys. Exp Eye Res 176:147-160
Hung, Li-Fang; Arumugam, Baskar; Ostrin, Lisa et al. (2018) The Adenosine Receptor Antagonist, 7-Methylxanthine, Alters Emmetropizing Responses in Infant Macaques. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 59:472-486
Beach, Krista M; Hung, Li-Fang; Arumugam, Baskar et al. (2018) Adenosine receptor distribution in Rhesus monkey ocular tissue. Exp Eye Res 174:40-50
Smith 3rd, Earl L; Hung, Li-Fang; Arumugam, Baskar et al. (2017) Observations on the relationship between anisometropia, amblyopia and strabismus. Vision Res 134:26-42
Wang, Ye; Zhang, Bin; Tao, Xiaofeng et al. (2017) Noisy Spiking in Visual Area V2 of Amblyopic Monkeys. J Neurosci 37:922-935
Arumugam, Baskar; Hung, Li-Fang; To, Chi-Ho et al. (2016) The Effects of the Relative Strength of Simultaneous Competing Defocus Signals on Emmetropization in Infant Rhesus Monkeys. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 57:3949-60
Smith 3rd, Earl L; Hung, Li-Fang; Arumugam, Baskar et al. (2015) Effects of Long-Wavelength Lighting on Refractive Development in Infant Rhesus Monkeys. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 56:6490-500
Arumugam, Baskar; Hung, Li-Fang; To, Chi-Ho et al. (2014) The effects of simultaneous dual focus lenses on refractive development in infant monkeys. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 55:7423-32
Tao, Xiaofeng; Zhang, Bin; Shen, Guofu et al. (2014) Early monocular defocus disrupts the normal development of receptive-field structure in V2 neurons of macaque monkeys. J Neurosci 34:13840-54
Smith 3rd, E L; Hung, L-F; Arumugam, B (2014) Visual regulation of refractive development: insights from animal studies. Eye (Lond) 28:180-8

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