Cone Ratios in Myopia and Emmetropia: A Pilot Study

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There is a suggestion that the long wavelength–sensitive (LWS)-to-middle wavelength–sensitive (MWS) cone ratio in the retina is associated with myopia. The aim was to measure the LWS/MWS amplitude modulation ratio, an estimate of the LWS/MWS cone ratio, in young adult emmetropes and myopes.


Multifocal visual evoked potentials were measured when the LWS and MWS cone systems were excited separately using the method of silent substitution. The 30 young adult participants (22 to 33 years) included 10 emmetropes (mean [±SD] refraction, +0.3 [±0.4] diopters [D]) and 20 myopes (mean [±SD] refraction, −3.4 [±1.7] D).


The LWS/MWS amplitude modulation ratios ranged from 0.56 to 1.80 in the central 3- to 13-degree diameter ring and from 0.94 to 1.91 in the peripheral 13- to 30-degree diameter ring. Within the central ring, the mean (±SD) ratios were 1.20 (±0.26) and 1.20 (±0.33) for the emmetropic and the myopic groups, respectively. For the peripheral ring, the mean (±SD) ratios were 1.48 (±0.27) and 1.30 (±0.27), respectively. There were no significant differences in the ratios between the emmetropic and myopic groups for either the central (p = 0.99) or peripheral (p = 0.08) rings. For the latter, more myopic refractive error was associated with lower LWS/MWS amplitude modulation ratio; the refraction explained 16% (p = 0.02) of variation in ratio.


The relationship between the LWS/MWS amplitude modulation ratios and refraction at 13 to 30 degrees indicates that a large longitudinal study of changes in refraction in persons with known cone ratio is required to determine if a low LWS/MWS cone ratio is associated with myopia development.

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