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Michael G. Quigley, Ian Powell, Walter Wittich; Increased Axial Length Corresponds to Decreased Retinal Light Dose: A Parsimonious Explanation for Decreasing AMD Risk in Myopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(10):3852-3857. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23696.
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A recent systematic review indicated that higher sunlight exposure increased risk of AMD. The Beaver Dam study and the Pathologies Oculaires Liées à L'âge study both noted that wearing hats and/or sunglasses significantly decrease some AMD lesions, suggesting that reduced retinal light dose (RLD) may be related to reduced AMD risk. Given that myopes also have reduced AMD risk, we hypothesize its link to decreased RLD.
Using a one-surface schematic eye and ray-tracing, spectacle power, vertex distance, corneal power, anterior chamber depth, and axial length to calculate relative light flux through the pupil and resultant image size on the retina in a randomly selected group of 71 eyes from the Reykjavik Eye Study. Pupil size is unaffected by refractive error; thus, RLD can be calculated. We verified this using a more complete set of ocular biometric variables and ray-tracing included in an optical design software (Opticsoft II).
RLD is inversely proportional to axial length. Comparing the two methods for calculating RLD using a Bland-Altman plot demonstrated equivalence. The ray-tracing method indicated that the retina of a hyperope with a 21-mm axial length would always be receiving 1.8× more photons per square millimeter than the retina of a myope with a 27-mm axial length.
RLD is inversely proportional to axial length, as is AMD risk. The RLD for our 21-mm axial length wearing a pair of inexpensive commercial sunglasses would be equivalent to the RLD for a 27-mm myope. This may explain the decreased AMD risk in highly myopic individuals.
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