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    Die Hector Fellow Academy stößt innovative Forschungsprojekte in neuen wissenschaftlichen Fragestellungen an.

Accommodation Behavior and Ciliary Muscle Activity in Myopia

Sandra Wagner – Hector Fellow Eberhart Zrenner

Kurzsichtigkeit (Myopie) ist weltweit auf dem Vormarsch und wurde wegen des erhöhten Risikos schwerer Augenerkrankungen wie Netzhautablösung oder Glaukom ein öffentliches Gesundheitsproblem. Noch sind die Gründe der Myopieentwicklung nicht restlos geklärt, es wird jedoch ein Zusammenhang mit dem Nahsehverhalten (Akkommodation) vermutet. Sandra Wagners vergleichende Untersuchung des Akkommodationsvorgangs bei Normal- und Kurzsichtigen trägt dazu bei, den aktuellen Trend aufzuhalten.

Prevalence of myopia (shortsightedness) increases considerably in industrialized countries. The mechanisms behind this development need to be fully understood in order to attain prevention. Research has previously provided indications supporting a possible link between myopia onset and near vision. The process of changing the eye lens’ refractive power to adapt to different viewing distances, referred to as accommodation, is initiated by the ciliary muscle.

This PhD project, supervised by Hector Fellow Eberhart Zrenner, compared the accommodation system of young adults with myopia and emmetropia (normal sightedness) regarding changes in both crystalline lens power and ciliary muscle morphology during regular and sustained accommodation. Furthermore, the possibility to voluntarily control accommodation using auditory biofeedback training was assessed.

Investigations of the ciliary muscle’s anatomy were realized using the imaging technique of optical coherence tomography (see Figure), and a new approach to evaluate morphologic changes during the muscle’s contraction was developed. This tool will also lay the scientific foundation for understanding how the ciliary muscle’s anatomical changes may correlate with the neuronal signals controlling its activity.

Findings derived from this project will allow a better understanding of accommodation, address unanswered question regarding myopia onset, and support the development of new devices.

Image of ciliary muscle (marked in red) during near accommodation in a young adult
subject using optical coherence tomography