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Janice M. Wensveen, Earl L. Smith, Li-Fang Hung, Ronald S. Harwerth; Brief Daily Periods of Unrestricted Vision Preserve Stereopsis in Strabismus. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(7):4872-4879. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6891.
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This study examines whether brief periods of binocular vision could preserve stereopsis in monkeys reared with optical strabismus.
Starting at 4 weeks of age, six infant monkeys were reared with a total of 30 prism diopters base-in split between the eyes. Two of the six monkeys wore prisms continuously, one for 4 weeks and one for 6 weeks. Four of the six monkeys wore prisms but had 2 hours of binocular vision daily, one for 4, one for 6, and two for 16 weeks. Five normally reared monkeys provided control data. Behavioral methods were used to measure spatial contrast sensitivity, eye alignment, and stereopsis with Gabor and random dot targets.
The same pattern of results was evident for both local and global stereopsis. For monkeys treated for 4 weeks, daily periods of binocular vision rescued stereopsis from the 10-fold reduction observed with continuous optical strabismus. Six weeks of continuous strabismus resulted in stereo blindness, whereas daily periods of binocular vision limited the reduction to a twofold loss from normal. Daily periods of binocular vision preserved stereopsis over 16 weeks of optical strabismus for one of the two monkeys.
Two hours of daily binocular vision largely preserves local and global stereopsis in monkeys reared with optical strabismus. During early development, the effects of normal vision are weighed more heavily than those of abnormal vision. The manner in which the effects of visual experience are integrated over time reduces the likelihood that brief episodes of abnormal vision will cause abnormal binocular vision development.
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