Zoom Brown Bag: The eye of the beholder. Does visual input and function affect ocular growth?"

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Drs. Arvind Chandna, Spencer Harris, and Saeideh Ghahghaei

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Abstract - The eye undergoes significant structural change following birth and through development—a process of ocular growth. Some of the control mechanisms implicated in this emmetropization process are visual input, optical defocus on retina, accommodation, and feedback. Ocular growth is closely related to oculomotor and visual development. Though visual and oculomotor development are extensively investigated, normal and disordered ocular growth during childhood is less studied. Such information would make an important contribution towards an integrated understanding of visual development and informed management of childhood conditions such as refractive errors, amblyopia, cataract, and glaucoma.   

We performed a prospective, cross-sectional study of 332 typically developing infants and young children to measure ocular growth in each eye  (corneal thickness, lens thickness, axial length. etc.). With this large data set, we were able to create normal growth curves for each of the variables, which can now be compared to ocular growth in different ocular conditions. We next examined ocular growth in the setting of visual deprivation by measuring eyes with pediatric unilateral and bilateral cataracts before and after surgery. We have discovered trends that suggest altered ocular growth when cataracts are present, and after removal of the cataracts, these trends differ between unilateral and bilateral deprivation.   

We are now at the stage of brainstorming about and speculating on the significance of these findings. Why would eyes with cataracts be shorter? Why are there differential effects between unilateral and bilateral cataracts after surgery?  Can the data we have serve as a model for amblyopia and other pediatric ophthalmic conditions? Where do we go next with this research? Questions that we hope will engender a discussion…...
Improving Zoom accessibility for people with hearing impairments 
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