Diurnal variation of ocular biometrics under natural and defocused conditions

Chakraborty, Ranjay (2013) Diurnal variation of ocular biometrics under natural and defocused conditions. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

It is well known that a broad range of ocular anatomical and physiological parameters undergo significant diurnal variation. However, the natural diurnal variations that occur in the length of the human eye (axial length) and their underlying causes have been less well studied. Improvements in optical methods for the measurement of ocular biometrics now allow more precise and comprehensive measurements of axial length to be performed than has previously been possible. Research from animal models also suggests a link between diurnal axial length variations and longer term myopic eye growth, and that retinal image defocus can disrupt these diurnal rhythms in axial length. This research programme has examined the diurnal variations in axial length in young normal eyes, the contributing components and the influence of optical stimuli on these changes.

In the first experiment, the normal pattern and consistency of the diurnal variations in axial length were examined at 10 different times (5 measurements each day, at ~ 3-hour intervals from ~ 9 am to ~ 9 pm) over 2 consecutive days on 30 young adult subjects (15 myopes, 15 emmetropes). Additionally, variations in a range of other ocular biometric measurements such as choroidal thickness, intraocular pressure, and other ocular biometrics were also explored as potential factors that may be associated with the observed variations in axial length. To investigate the potential influence of refractive error on diurnal axial length variations, the differences in the magnitude and pattern of diurnal variations in axial length between the myopic and emmetropic subjects were examined. Axial length underwent significant diurnal variation that was consistently observed over the 2 consecutive days of measurements, with the longest axial length typically occurring during the day, and the shortest at night. Significant diurnal variations were also observed in choroidal thickness, IOP and other ocular biometrics (such as central corneal thickness, anterior chamber depth and vitreous chamber depth) of the eye. Diurnal variations in vitreous chamber depth, IOP (positive associations) and choroidal thickness (negative association) were all significantly correlated with the diurnal changes in axial length. Choroidal thickness was found to fluctuate approximately in antiphase to the axial length changes, with the average timing of the longest axial length coinciding with the thinnest choroid and vice versa. There were no significant differences in the ocular diurnal variations associated with refractive error.

Given that the diurnal changes in axial length could be associated with the changes in the eye’s optical quality, whether the optical quality of the eye also undergoes diurnal variation in the same cohort of young adult myopes and emmetropes over 2 consecutive days was also examined. Significant diurnal variations were observed only in the best sphere refraction (power vector M) and in the spherical aberration of the eye over two consecutive days of testing. The changes in the eyes lower and higher order ocular optics were not significantly associated with the diurnal variations in axial length and the other measured ocular biometric parameters. No significant differences were observed in the magnitude and timing of diurnal variations in lower-order and higher-order optics associated with refractive error. Since the small natural fluctuations in the eye’s optical quality did not appear to be sufficient to influence the natural diurnal fluctuations in ocular biometric parameters, in the next experiment, the influence of monocular myopic defocus (+1.50 DS) upon the normal diurnal variations in axial length and choroidal thickness of young adult emmetropic human subjects (n=13) imposed over a 12 hour period was examined. A series of axial length and choroidal thickness measurements (collected at ~3 hourly intervals, with the first measurement at ~9 am and the final measurement at ~9 pm) were obtained over three consecutive days. The natural diurnal rhythms (Day 1, no defocus), diurnal rhythms with monocular myopic defocus (Day 2, +1.50 DS spectacle lens over the right eye), and the recovery from any defocus induced changes (Day 3, no defocus) were examined. Significant diurnal variations over the course of the day were observed in both axial length and choroidal thickness on each of the three measurement days. The introduction of monocular myopic defocus led to significant reductions in the mean amplitude of diurnal change, and phase shifts in the peak timing of the diurnal rhythms in axial length and choroidal thickness. These defocus induced changes were found to be transient in nature and returned to normal the day following removal of the defocus.

To further investigate the influence of optical stimuli on human diurnal rhythms, in the final experiment, the influence of monocular hyperopic defocus on the normal diurnal rhythms in axial length and choroidal thickness was examined in young adult emmetropic subjects (n=15). Similar to the previous experiment, the natural diurnal rhythms (Day 1, no defocus), diurnal rhythms with monocular hyperopic defocus (Day 2, -2.00 DS spectacle lens over the right eye), and the recovery from any defocus induced changes (Day 3, no defocus) were examined over three consecutive days. Both axial length and choroidal thickness underwent significant diurnal variations on each of the three days. The introduction of monocular hyperopic defocus resulted in a significant increase in the amplitude of diurnal change, but no change in the peak timing of diurnal rhythms in both parameters. The ocular changes associated with hyperopic defocus returned to normal, the day following removal of the defocus.

This research has shown that axial length undergoes significant diurnal variation in young adult human eyes, and has shown that the natural diurnal variations in choroidal thickness and IOP are significantly associated, and may underlie these diurnal fluctuations in axial length. This work also demonstrated for the first time that exposing young human eyes to monocular myopic and hyperopic defocus leads to a significant disruption in the normal diurnal rhythms of axial length and choroidal thickness. These changes in axial length with defocus may reflect underlying mechanisms in the human eye that are involved in the regulation of longer term eye growth.

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ID Code: 61093
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Read, Scott
Additional Information: Recipient of 2013 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award.
Keywords: eye, diurnal variation, axial length, choroidal thickness, defocus, intraocular pressure, myopia, ODTA
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Jul 2013 00:57
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 04:40

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