A new test of contour integration deficits in patients with a history of disrupted binocular experience during visual development

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publication: Vision ResVision Res, Volume 40, p.1775-1783 (2000)
Abstract:Previous studies have suggested that the integration of orientation information across space is impaired in amblyopia. We developed a method for quantifying orientation-domain processing using a test format that is suitable for clinical application. The test comprises a graded series of cards where each card includes a closed path (contour) of high contrast Gabor signals embedded in a random background of Gabor signals. Contour visibility in both normals and patients with histories of abnormal binocular vision depends jointly on the spacing of elements on the contour as well as background element density. Strabismic amblyopes show significant degradation of performance compared to normals. Small but significant losses in sensitivity were also observed in a group of non-amblyopic strabismus patients. Threshold measurements made with contrast reducing diffusers indicated that the amblyopic loss is not due to the reduced contrast sensitivity of the amblyopic eye. An abnormal pattern of long-range connectivity between spatial filters or a loss of such connectivity appears to be the primary source of contour integration deficits in amblyopia and strabismus.