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Ying-Zi Xiong, Rong Liu, MiYoung Kwon, Ava K. Bittner, Cynthia Owsley, Gordon E. Legge; A Unified Rule for Binocular Contrast Summation Applies to Normal Vision and Common Eye Diseases. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(13):6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.13.6.
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Binocular summation refers to better visual performance with two eyes than with one eye. Little is known about the mechanism underlying binocular contrast summation in patients with common eye diseases who often exhibit binocularly asymmetric vision loss and structural changes along the visual pathway. Here we asked whether the mechanism of binocular contrast summation remains preserved in eye disease.
This study included 1035 subjects with normal ocular health, cataract, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa. Monocular and binocular contrast sensitivity were measured by the Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity chart. Interocular ratio (IOR) was quantified as the ratio between the poorer and better eye contrast sensitivity. Binocular summation ratio (BSR) was quantified as the ratio between binocular and better eye contrast sensitivity.
All groups showed statistically significant binocular summation, with the BSR ranging from 1.25 [1.20, 1.30] in the glaucoma group to 1.31 [1.27, 1.36] in the normal vision group. There was no significant group difference in the BSR, after accounting for IOR. By fitting a binocular summation model Binocular = (Leftm + Rightm)1/m to the contrast sensitivity data, we found that the same binocular summation rule, reflected by the parameter m, applies across the five groups.
Cortical binocular contrast summation appears to be preserved in spite of eye diseases that can affect the two eyes differently. This finding supports the importance of assessing both monocular and binocular functions, rather than relying on a monocular assessment in the better eye as a potentially inaccurate surrogate measure.
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