Faculty Articles

Title

Binocular deficits associated with early alternating monocular defocus. II. Neurophysiological observations

ISBN or ISSN

0022-3077

Volume

90

Issue

5

Publication Date / Copyright Date

11-1-2003

First Page

3012

Last Page

3023

DOI Number

10.1152/jn.00975.2002

Abstract

Experiencing binocularly conflicting signals early in life dramatically alters the binocular responses of cortical neurons. Because visual cortex is highly plastic during a critical period of development, cortical deficits resulting from early abnormal visual experience often mirror the nature of interocular decorrelation of neural signals from the two eyes. In the preceding paper, we demonstrated that monkeys that experienced early alternating monocular defocus (-1.5, -3.0, or -6.0 D) show deficits in stereopsis that generally reflected the magnitude of imposed monocular defocus. Because these results indicated that alternating monocular defocus affected the higher spatial frequency components of visual scenes more severely, we employed microelectrode recording methods to investigate whether V1 neurons in these lens-reared monkeys exhibited spatial-frequency-dependent alterations in their binocular response properties. We found that a neuron's sensitivity to interocular spatial phase disparity was reduced in the treated monkeys and that this reduction was generally more severe for units tuned to higher spatial frequencies. In the majority of the affected units, the disparity-sensitivity loss was associated with interocular differences in monocular receptive field properties. The present results suggest that the behavioral deficits in stereopsis produced by abnormal visual experience reflect at least in part the constraints imposed by alterations at the earliest stages of binocular cortical processing and support the hypothesis that the local disparity processing mechanisms in primates are spatially tuned and can be independently compromised by early abnormal visual experience.

Disciplines

Optometry

Peer Reviewed

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