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John H. K. Liu, Hamed Farid, David H. Rapaport; Sympathetic Nervous System Plays a Role in Postnatal Eyeball Enlargement in the Rabbit. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2000;41(9):2684-2688.
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purpose. To examine the role of ocular sympathetic activity in the enlargement
of the rabbit eyeball during postnatal growth.
methods. Fourteen New Zealand albino rabbits aged 5 weeks underwent unilateral
surgical transection of the cervical sympathetic trunk caudal to the
superior cervical ganglion. Postoperative enlargement of both eyeballs
was monitored by measuring the axial length and corneal diameters every
2 weeks for 22 weeks (7–27 weeks of age). Rabbits were housed under a
12-hour light/12-hour dark cycle, and the measurements were made in the
middle of the light period. At a final age of 30 to 31 weeks, the
refractive state of the whole eye was determined on both sides by
measurement through the central cornea with a refractometer. Rabbits
were then killed, eyeballs enucleated, and their ocular volumes
results. From 9 weeks of age the axial length and corneal diameters were
significantly shorter (P < 0.05) in the decentralized
eye (surgical side) compared with the intact eye. This reduction
remained statistically significant throughout the study period.
However, the final refractive states of the two eyes were found not to
be different. The mean ocular volume determined after postmortem
enucleation was 4.5% less in the decentralized eye than in the intact
eye (P < 0.05).
conclusions. Sympathetic nervous system activity is involved in the normal
enlargement of the rabbit eyeball during postnatal growth. However,
removal of the ocular sympathetic tone at the age of 5 weeks does not
significantly alter the refractive state of the eye when measured in
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