To compare saccadic eye movements in groups of myopes and emmetropes, as eye movements could have an influence on refractive error development. Individual saccadic eye movement parameters were also compared with subjective refraction and axial length data.
Horizontal eye movements of 28 participants (14 myopes and 14 emmetropes; mean age [SD], 27.0 [4.7] years) were recorded using a head-mounted eye tracker. To reduce the influence of head movements, a chin rest was used. Two fixation stimuli lying symmetrically at ±10 degrees on either side of the median line were presented on a computer monitor and were alternately displayed for durations of 2 seconds each. The participants alternated their fixation between the target positions immediately after they became aware that the target had changed. Only right eye data were considered for analysis.
Durations, amplitudes, and peak velocities of the main saccades and the numbers of overshoots, undershoots, and exact fixations were analyzed. For all analyzed parameters, no significant differences were found between myopes and emmetropes. When analyzing the whole study population or the emmetropic group alone, none of the saccadic eye movement parameters were correlated with axial length or refractive error. In myopes, only the peak velocity showed a weak correlation with refractive error and axial length, but this failed to reach statistical significance when allowance was made for multiple testing.
Because saccadic eye movements seem to be similar in myopes and emmetropes, there is no evidence that saccadic eye movements are involved in myopia development.
*PhD, Dipl-Ing(FH), FAAO
Faculty of Life Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
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