Purpose. Exposure to narrow-band red light, which stimulates only the long-wavelength sensitive (LWS) cones, slows axial eye growth and produces hyperopia in tree shrews and macaque monkeys. We asked whether exposure to amber light, which also stimulates only the LWS cones but with a greater effective illuminance than red light, has a similar hyperopia-inducing effect in tree shrews. Methods. Starting at 24 ± 1 days of visual experience, 15 tree shrews (dichromatic mammals closely related to primates) received light treatment through amber filters (BPI 500/550 dyed acrylic) either atop the cage (Filter group, n = 8, 300–400 human lux) or fitted into goggles in front of both eyes (Goggle group, n = 7). Non-cycloplegic refractive error and axial ocular dimensions were measured daily. Treatment groups were compared with age-matched animals (Colony group, n = 7) raised in standard colony fluorescent lighting (100–300 lux). Results. At the start of treatment, mean refractive errors were well-matched across the three groups (p = 0.35). During treatment, the Filter group became progressively more hyperopic with age (p < 0.001). By contrast, the Goggle and Colony groups showed continued normal emmetropization. When the treatment ended, the Filter group exhibited significantly greater hyperopia (mean [SE] = 3.5 [0.6] D) compared with the Goggle (0.2 [0.8] D, p = 0.01) and Colony groups (1.0 [0.2] D, p = 0.01). However, the refractive error in the Goggle group was not different from that in the Colony group (p = 0.35). Changes in the vitreous chamber were consistent with the refractive error changes. Conclusions. Exposure to ambient amber light produced substantial hyperopia in the Filter group but had no effect on refractive error in the Goggle group. The lack of effect in the Goggle group could be due to the simultaneous activation of the short-wavelength sensitive (SWS) and LWS cones caused by the scattering of the broad-band light from the periphery of the goggles.
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