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Fang Hou, Chang-bing Huang, Liming Tao, Lixia Feng, Yifeng Zhou, Zhong-Lin Lu; Training in Contrast Detection Improves Motion Perception of Sinewave Gratings in Amblyopia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(9):6501-6510. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-7541.
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One critical concern about using perceptual learning to treat amblyopia is whether training with one particular stimulus and task generalizes to other stimuli and tasks. In the spatial domain, it has been found that the bandwidth of contrast sensitivity improvement is much broader in amblyopes than in normals. Because previous studies suggested the local motion deficits in amblyopia are explained by the spatial vision deficits, the hypothesis for this study was that training in the spatial domain could benefit motion perception of sinewave gratings.
Nine adult amblyopes (mean age, 22.1 ± 5.6 years) were trained in a contrast detection task in the amblyopic eye for 10 days. Visual acuity, spatial contrast sensitivity functions, and temporal modulation transfer functions (MTF) for sinewave motion detection and discrimination were measured for each eye before and after training. Eight adult amblyopes (mean age, 22.6 ± 6.7 years) served as control subjects.
In the amblyopic eye, training improved (1) contrast sensitivity by 6.6 dB (or 113.8%) across spatial frequencies, with a bandwidth of 4.4 octaves; (2) sensitivity of motion detection and discrimination by 3.2 dB (or 44.5%) and 3.7 dB (or 53.1%) across temporal frequencies, with bandwidths of 3.9 and 3.1 octaves, respectively; (3) visual acuity by 3.2 dB (or 44.5%). The fellow eye also showed a small amount of improvement in contrast sensitivities and no significant change in motion perception. Control subjects who received no training demonstrated no obvious improvement in any measure.
The results demonstrate substantial plasticity in the amblyopic visual system, and provide additional empirical support for perceptual learning as a potential treatment for amblyopia.
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