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R D Hamer, V Dobson, M J Mayer; Absolute thresholds in human infants exposed to continuous illumination.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1984;25(4):381-388.
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Continuous illumination at low-to-moderate photopic levels can cause damage to the visual system in nonhuman species. Therefore, the authors sought to determine whether behaviorally measurable visual deficits occurred in young human infants who had been exposed to long-term, continuous illumination in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Using the forced-choice, preferential-looking technique, the authors measured absolute thresholds for detection of a 502 nm stimulus in nine preterm infants who had been exposed to 13 to 46 days of continuous room illumination. Nine infants born at term, who had experienced less than or equal to 5 days of continuous illumination, served as controls. The thresholds for the light-exposed and control infants did not differ. In addition, the light-exposed infants did not differ from control infants in their performance on a rapid acuity screening under photopic conditions. Thus, the present data provide no evidence of functional damage to either rod or cone vision in infants who had been exposed to continuous illumination in an NICU. Some limitations to the generality of these conclusions are discussed.
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