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Xi Wang, Alex S. Baldwin, Robert F. Hess; Balanced Binocular Inputs Support Superior Stereopsis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(12):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.12.10.
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Our visual system compares the inputs received from the two eyes to estimate the relative depths of features in the retinal image. We investigated how an imbalance in the strength of the input received from the two eyes affects stereopsis. We also explored the level of agreement between different measurements of sensory eye imbalance.
We measured the sensory eye imbalance and stereoacuity of 30 normally sighted participants. We made our measurements using a modified amblyoscope. The sensory eye imbalance was assessed through three methods: the difference between monocular contrast thresholds, the difference in dichoptic masking weight, and the contribution of each eye to a fused binocular percept. We referred them as the “threshold imbalance,” “masking imbalance,” and “fusion imbalance,” respectively. The stereoacuity threshold was measured by having subjects discriminate which of four circles were displaced in depth. All of our tests were performed using stimuli of the same spatial frequency (2.5 cycles/degree).
We found a relationship between stereoacuity and sensory eye imbalance. However, this was only the case for fusion imbalance measurement (ρ = 0.52; P = 0.003). Neither the threshold imbalance nor the masking imbalance was significantly correlated with stereoacuity. We also found the threshold imbalance was correlated with both the fusion and masking imbalances (r = 0.46, P = 0.011 and r = 0.49, P = 0.005, respectively). However, a nonsignificant correlation was found between the fusion and masking imbalances.
Our findings suggest that there exist multiple types of sensory eye dominance that can be assessed by different tasks. We find only imbalances in dominance that result in biases to fused percepts are correlated with stereoacuity.
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