Diurnal variations in ocular aberrations of human eyes
Purpose: To investigate the diurnal variations in ocular wavefront aberrations over two consecutive days in young adult subjects.
Materials and methods: Measurements of both lower-order (sphero-cylindrical refractive powers) and higher-order (3rd and 4th order aberration terms) ocular aberrations were collected for 30 young adult subjects at ten different times over two consecutive days using a Hartmann-Shack aberrometer. Fifteen subjects were myopic and 15 were emmetropic. Five sets of measurements were collected each day at approximately 3 hourly intervals, with the first measurement taken at ~9 am and the final measurement at ~9 pm.
Results: Spherical equivalent refraction (p = 0.029) and spherical aberration (p = 0.043) were both found to undergo significant diurnal variation over the two measurement days. The spherical equivalent was typically found to be at a maximum (i.e. most hyperopic) at the morning measurement, with a small myopic shift of 0.37 ± 0.15 D observed over the course of the day. The mean spherical aberration of all subjects (0.038 ± 0.048 μm) was found to be positive during the day and gradually became more negative into the evening, with a mean amplitude of change of 0.036 ± 0.02 μm. None of the other considered sphero-cylindrical refractive power components or higher-order aberrations exhibited significant diurnal variation over the two days of the experiment (p>0.05). Except for the lower-order astigmatism at 90/180 deg (p = 0.040), there were no significant differences between myopes and emmetropes in the magnitude and timing of the observed diurnal variations (p>0.05).
Conclusions: Significant diurnal variations in spherical equivalent and spherical aberration were consistently observed over two consecutive days of measurement. Research and clinical applications requiring precise refractive error and wavefront measurements should take these diurnal changes into account when interpreting wavefront data.
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