Investigations into the plasticity of eye growth and refractive error development have significantly expanded our knowledge of animal models of myopia in the last 15 yr. The applicability of this information is as yet undetermined, but hopefully this information will be useful in learning more about human myopia. This paper presents a critical review of the animal myopia literature as those data relate to the human condition. Differences between the chicken, tree shrew, and primate animal models of myopia are outlined, and the various experimental paradigms used to investigate refractive error development and ocular growth in the chicken are compared. Specific arguments against the application of animal models of myopia to the etiology of human juvenile onset myopia include the following: (1) there is no deprivation of form vision in the environment of the school-aged child as severe as that required to induce myopia in animals; (2) the sensitive period for deprivation myopia in animals appears to be too early to account for human juvenile onset myopia; and (3) studies in the chicken using spectacle lenses to create dioptric blur involve a choroidal thickness modulation that has no human analog. Ultimately, the results of investigations into the cellular and biochemical modulation of eye growth in animals may be the most relevant to human myopia.
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