A unifying theory of refractive error development

George K. Hung, Kenneth J. Ciuffreda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


While retinal defocus is believed to be myopigenic in nature, the underlying mechanism has remained elusive. We recently constructed a theory of refractive error development to investigate its fundamental properties. Our Incremental Retinal-Defocus Theory is based on the principle that the change in retinal-defocus magnitude during an increment of genetically-programmed ocular growth provides the requisite sign for the appropriate alteration in subsequent environmentally-induced ocular growth. This theory was tested under five experimental conditions: lenses, diffusers, occlusion, crystalline lens removal, and prolonged nearwork. Predictions of the theory were consistent with previous animal and human experimental findings. In addition, simulations using a MATLAB/SIMULINK model supported our theory by demonstrating quantitatively the appropriate directional changes in ocular growth rate. Thus, our Incremental Retinal-Defocus Theory provides a simple and logical unifying concept underlying the mechanism for the development of refractive error. (C) 2000 Society for Mathematical Biology.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1087-1108
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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