Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 190, Issue 2, pp 131–137 | Cite as

Variations in the off-axis refractive state in the eye of the Vietnamese leaf turtle (Geoemyda spengleri)

  • M. J. Henze
  • F. Schaeffel
  • M. OttEmail author
Original Paper


Lower-field myopia has been described for various vertebrates as an adaptation that permits the animal to keep the ground in focus during foraging, and, at the same time, to look out for distant objects, such as predators, in the upper visual field. Off-axis measurements with infrared photoretinoscopy in the eye of Geoemyda spengleri revealed a constant refractive state in the horizontal plane of the visual field but variable refraction in the vertical plane. In the three turtles investigated, the refractions increased continuously from the ventral to the dorsal visual field over a range of 35, 40 and 56 D, respectively. While this finding confirms the presence of an adaptive change of the refractive state equivalent to lower field myopia, subsequent measurements with a rotated retinoscope showed that at least part of the variation in the ventral field was attributed to astigmatism. The reason for this astigmatism is unknown. Anatomical investigation of the retina revealed that the constant refractive values in the horizontal plane corresponded to a stripe of increased ganglion cell density. A maximum density of 4,200 ganglion cells mm−2 was counted in the centre of this visual streak.


Astigmatism Infrared photoretinoscopy Lower-field myopia Ramp retina Visual streak 



We thank M. and W. Matzanke for putting their Vietnamese leaf turtles at our disposal to take some preliminary measures. The experiments reported in this paper comply with the Principles of Animal care, publication No. 86-23, revised 1985, of the National Institutes of Health and were carried out in accordance with the German “Tierschutzgesetz”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for AnatomyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Section of Neurobiology of the Eye, Department IIUniversity Eye HospitalTübingenGermany

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