Further evidence that chick eyes use the sign of blur in spectacle lens compensation

Tae Woo Park, Jonathan Winawer, Josh Wallman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Young animals compensate for defocus imposed by positive or negative spectacle lenses by adjusting the elongation rate of their vitreous chambers, thus matching the length of the eye with the focal length of the eye's optics combined with the spectacle lenses. The ability to compensate for either negative or positive lenses could rely on the ability to distinguish between myopic and hyperopic blur, or it could rely on the fact that positive lenses would bring nearby objects into focus, thereby reducing the amount of blur, whereas negative lenses would not. This study asks whether eyes emmetropize using the magnitude of blur or the sign of blur as a directional cue. We fitted chick eyes with positive lenses while imposing a substantial amount of blur, either (a) by having them wear lenses only when restrained in the center of a cylinder, the walls of which were beyond their far-point or (b) by having them wear mild diffusers over positive lenses. We found good refractive compensation in both situations in a large number of birds. Furthermore, we found that mild diffusers worn on top of positive lenses differentially affected the two ocular components of refractive compensation: there was less choroidal thickening, but more inhibition of ocular elongation, compared to wearing positive lenses alone. These findings argue both that the eye can discern the sign of the blur and that choroidal and ocular-elongation components of the refractive compensation do not respond identically to visual inputs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1531
Number of pages13
JournalVision research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Choroid
  • Defocus
  • Emmetropization
  • Hyperopia
  • Myopia
  • Ocular refraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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