Synkinesis of accommodation and vergence during sustained rear vision

  • Mark Rosenfield

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


It is well established that a synkinetic relationship exists between the accommodation and vergence components of the oculomotor near response such that increased accommodation will initiate a vergence response (i.e. accommodative convergence) and conversely increased vergence will drive accommodation (i.e. convergent accommodation) .
The synkinesis associated with sustained near-vision was examined in a student
population consisting of emmetropes, late-onset myopes (LOMs) i.e. myopia onset at 15 years of age or later and early-onset myopes (EOMs) i.e. myopia onset prior to 15 years of age. Oculomotor synkinesis was investigated both under closed-loop conditions and with either accommodation or vergence open-loop. Objective measures of the accommodative response were made using an infra-red optometer. Differences in near-response characteristics were observed between LOMs and EOMs under both open- and closed-loop conditions. LOMs exhibit significantly higher levels of disparity-induced accommodation (accommodation driven by vergence under closed-loop conditions) and lower response accommodative convergence/accommodation (AC/A) ratios when compared with EOMs. However no difference in convergent accommodation/convergence (CA/C) ratios were found between the three
refractive groups.
Accommodative adaptation was examined by comparing the pre- to post-task shift in dark focus (DF) following near-vision tasks. Accommodative adaptation was observed following tasks as brief as 15s. Following a 45s near-vision task, subjects having pre-task DF greater than +0.750 exhibited a marked negative shift in post-task DF which was shown to be induced by beta-adrenergic innervation to the ciliary muscle. However no evidence was found to support the proposal of reduced adrenergic innervation to the ciliary muscle in LOMs.
Disparity-vergence produced a reduction in accommodative adaptation suggesting that oculomotor adaptation was not driven by the output of the near-response crosslinks. In order to verify this proposition, the effect of vergence adaptation on CA/C was investigated and it was observed that prism adaptation produced no significant change in the CA/C ratio. This would indicate that in a model of accommodation-vergence interaction, the near response cross-links occur after the input to the adaptive components of the oculomotor response rather than before the adaptive elements as reported in previous literature.
The findings of this thesis indicate differences in the relative composition of the
aggregate accommodation and vergence responses in the three refractive groups
examined. They may also have implications with regard to the aetiology of late-onset myopia.
Date of AwardMar 1988
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBernard Gilmartin (Supervisor)


  • accommodation
  • myopia
  • rear vision
  • oculomotor adaptation
  • vergence

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