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.