Purpose. It has been shown that visual deprivation leads to a myopic refractive error and also reduces the retinal concentration of dopamine. Exogenously 3,4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (levodopa, L-DOPA) can be converted into dopamine in vivo, which safely and effectively treats Parkinson disease. Moreover, L-DOPA was also used in the treatment of amblyopia in clinical studies. However, the effect of L-DOPA on the development of myopia has not been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate whether intraperitoneal injection of L-DOPA could inhibit form-deprivation myopia in guinea pigs and to explore a new strategy for drug treatment of myopia.
Methods. Sixty guinea pigs, at age of 4 weeks, were randomly divided into six groups: normal control, L-DOPA group, saline group, deprived group, deprived plus L-DOPA group, and deprived plus saline group. Form deprivation was induced with translucent eye shields on the right eye and lasted for 10 days. L-DOPA was injected intraperitoneally into the guinea pig once a day. The corneal radius of curvature, refraction, and axial length were measured in all animals. Subsequently, retinal dopamine content was evaluated by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection.
Results. Ten days of eye occlusion caused the form-deprived eyes to elongate and become myopic, and retinal dopamine content to decrease, but the corneal radius of curvature was not affected. Repeated intraperitoneal injection of L-DOPA could inhibit the myopic shift (from −3.62 ± 0.98 D to −1.50 ± 0.38 D; p < 0.001) due to goggles occluding and compensate retinal dopamine (from 0.65 ± 0.10 ng to 1.33 ± 0.23 ng; p < 0.001). Administration of L-DOPA to the unoccluded animals had no effect on its ocular refraction. There was no effect of intraperitoneal saline on the ocular refractive state and retinal dopamine.
Conclusions. Systemic L-DOPA was partly effective in this guinea pig model and, therefore, is worth testing for effectiveness in progressing human myopes.
Department of Ophthalmology (MJ, LS, LF, WX, TQ), and Operation Room (QW), Xiang-Ya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30600694).
Received November 3, 2008; accepted August 31, 2009.