Nonhuman Primate Eyes Display Variable Growth and Aging Rates in Alignment With Human Eyes

Ying Xue, Yingxue Cao, Shuxin Fan, Mingming Xu, Ziqi Yang, Lingli Zhou, Le Shi, Lechun Ou, Yuying Li, Wenjie Qing, Zhicheng Zou, Fuxiang Mao, Ningli Wang, Elia J. Duh, Wei Yi, Xialin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. To assess age-related biometric changes of the eye in nonhuman primates (NHPs), to and decipher the growth and aging rates and their comparability with humans. METHODS. Ocular anatomic measurements were performed on 341 macaca fascicularis aged 0.5 to 23 years via multimodal approaches including IOLMaster 700. Linear or polynomial regression models were simulated to determine the best fitted age-related function. The metrics were compared with human equivalents in published reports. RESULTS. Macaques exhibited a postnatal eye growth pattern similar to humans, characterized by continuous eye extension coordinated with dramatic reshaping of the lens but not the cornea. The age-related growth of lens thickness (LT), anterior chamber depth (ACD), and axis length (AL) exhibited nonlinear and bipolar patterns. The inflection points were 10 to 12 years old for LT and ACD and 13 to 15 years old for AL in macaques, which were comparable in chronological age at a ratio of ∼1: ratio with that in humans. In contrast, the speed of aging, including the increase in lens density and the decrease in retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, was comparable in relative age at a ratio of ∼1:3 according to the differences in lifespan between macaques and humans. Lens density was a robust indicator for the aging process. CONCLUSIONS. Macaque eyes recapitulated the age-related process of human eyes to varying extents with different growth and aging rates. Chronological age or relative age should be considered in different scenarios when macaques are included in preclinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • IOLmaster 700
  • aging
  • development
  • nonhuman primate
  • ocular
  • ocular biometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Ophthalmology


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