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Brendan T. Barrett, Ian E. Pacey, Arthur Bradley, Larry N. Thibos, Paul Morrill; Nonveridical Visual Perception in Human Amblyopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(4):1555-1567. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0515.
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purpose. Amblyopia is a developmental disorder of spatial vision. There is evidence to suggest that some amblyopes misperceive spatial structure when viewing with the affected eye. However, there are few examples of these perceptual errors in the literature. This study was an investigation of the prevalence and nature of misperceptions in human amblyopia.
methods. Thirty amblyopes with strabismus and/or anisometropia participated in the study. Subjects viewed sinusoidal gratings of various spatial frequencies, orientations, and contrasts. After interocular comparison, subjects sketched the subjective appearance of those stimuli that had nonveridical appearances.
results. Nonveridical visual perception was revealed in 20 amblyopes (∼67%). In some subjects, misperceptions were present despite the absence of a deficit in contrast sensitivity. The presence of distortions was not simply linked to the depth of amblyopia, and anisometropes were affected as well as those with strabismus. In most cases, these spatial distortions arose at spatial frequencies far below the contrast detection acuity cutoff. Errors in perception became more severe at higher spatial frequencies, with low spatial frequencies being mostly perceived veridically. The prevalence and severity of misperceptions were frequently found to depend on the orientation of the grating used in the test, with horizontal orientations typically less affected than other orientations. Contrast had a much smaller effect on misperceptions, although there were cases in which severity was greater at higher contrasts.
conclusions. Many types of misperceptions documented in the present study have appeared in previous investigations. This suggests that the wide range of distortions previously reported reflect genuine intersubject differences. It is proposed that nonveridical perception in human amblyopia has its origins in errors in the neural coding of orientation in primary visual cortex.
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