Oculomotor studies in non-human primates with strabismus
Past Event Date:
Speaker:Professor Vallabh Das, Benedict-Pitts Professor Chair, Department of Basic Sciences
Abstract - Binocular alignment and binocular coordination of eye movements are necessary to direct both foveae at targets within 3D space. Unfortunately, individuals suffering from strabismus (ocular misalignment) never develop the necessary alignment and coordination of eye movements for binocular vision. Developmental loss of sensory or motor fusion leads to strabismus in nearly 5% of children making this disease a significant public health issue. In order to develop a better understanding of this disabling disease, we have been performing studies in non-human primate models for sensory strabismus previously induced by disrupting binocular vision through the use of prisms or occluders during the developmental critical period. An excellent feature of these NHP models is that they not only develop eye misalignment but also develop common eye movement disruptions associated with the human condition. We have identified widespread changes in many visual and oculomotor neural centers, specifically vergence related areas of the brain, leading to new insight on the development and maintenance of eye misalignment and other associated strabismus properties. Our most recent work has been focused on the superior colliculus to identify its role in determining the state of eye misalignment and also as a substrate that might be involved in fixation-switch behavior. In another direction of research into strabismus, we have explored the neural plasticity that accompanies the treatment of strabismus via surgical methods with the goal of understanding how plasticity might influence the success or failure of the surgical treatment.
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