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Pharmacological effects on accommodative adaptation

Gilmartin, B; Bullimore, MA; Rosenfield, M; Winn, B; Owens, H


B Gilmartin

MA Bullimore

M Rosenfield

B Winn


We review the research which has attempted to determine whether the characteristics of autonomic innervation of ciliary smooth muscle are relevant to the process of accommodative adaptation. The effect of various topical autonomic drugs on the three phases of adaptation were analyzed: pre-task tonic accommodation (open-loop); within-task accommodative response (closed-loop); and post-task regression of accommodation to pre-task tonic levels. Although it is clear that parasympathetic innervation predominates, there is evidence that some individuals utilize supplementary inhibitory sympathetic innervation. When sympathetic innervation is augmented by substantial levels of concurrent parasympathetic accommodative activity, it may serve to attenuate the magnitude and duration of post-task shifts in tonic accommodation. It is proposed that individuals with a deficit in sympathetic inhibition may therefore be predisposed to anomalies of accommodative adaptation. However, the mechanism by which the oculomotor system responds to such predisposition is at present obscure.


Gilmartin, B., Bullimore, M., Rosenfield, M., Winn, B., & Owens, H. (1992). Pharmacological effects on accommodative adaptation. Optometry and Vision Science, 69(4), 276-284

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 1992
Publication Date Apr 1, 1992
Journal Optometry and vision science : official publication of the American Academy of
Print ISSN 1538-9235
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 69
Issue 4
Pages 276-284
Keywords accommodation, autonomic nervous system, sustained visual tasks, tonic accommodation, sympathetic nervous system
Publisher URL