The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of optical defocus and spatial contrast on refractive development and, in particular,on anterior chamber growth. Ninety chicks were raised from day 4-10 post-hatching wearing monocular lenses (+/-10 Dor 0 D), in an environment with either high, low or no spatial contrast patterns: 30%, 6% or 0% contrast, respectively. At day 10, the chicks' refractive state and ocular components were assessed using retinoscopy and A-scan ultrasonography. Ocular defocus resulted in sign-dependent significant differences in refractive error, axial length and vitreous chamber depth. Lens wear also led to significant spatial contrast dependent changes in anterior chamber depth. Varying ambient spatial contrast in the chick's environment did not inhibit emmetropization processes; however, anterior chamber growth was particularly susceptible to changes in spatial contrast.