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Peripheral refractive errors in myopic, emmetropic, and hyperopic young subjects

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Abstract

To gain more insight into the relationship between foveal and peripheral refractive errors in humans, spheres, cylinders, and their axes were binocularly measured across the visual field in myopic, emmetropic, and hyperopic groups of young subjects. Both automated infrared photorefraction (the “PowerRefractor”; www.plusoptix.de) and a double-pass technique were used because the PowerRefractor provided extensive data from the central 44 deg of the visual field in a very convenient and fast way. Two-dimensional maps for the average cross cylinders and spherical equivalents, as well as for the axes of the power meridians of the cylinders, were created. A small amount of lower-field myopia was detected with a significant vertical gradient in spherical equivalents. In the central visual field there was little difference among the three refractive groups. The established double-pass technique provided complementary data also from the far periphery. At 45 deg eccentricity the double-pass technique revealed relatively more hyperopic spherical equivalents in myopic subjects than in emmetropic subjects [±2.73±2.85 D relative to the fovea, p<0.01 (±standard deviation)] and more myopic spherical equivalents in hyperopic subjects (-3.84±2.86 D relative to the fovea, p<0.01). Owing to the pronounced peripheral astigmatism, spherical equivalents (refractions with respect to the plane of the circle of least confusion) became myopic relative to the fovea in all three groups. The finding of general peripheral myopia was unexpected. Its possible roles in foveal refractive development are discussed.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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