ABSTRACT: PURPOSE:Fixational saccades shift the foveal image to counteract visual fading related to neural adaptation. Drifts are slow eye movements between two adjacent fixational saccades. We quantified fixational saccades and asked whether their changes could be attributed to pathologic drifts seen in amblyopia, one of the most common causes of blindness in childhood. METHODS:Thirty-six pediatric subjects with varying severity of amblyopia and eleven healthy age-matched controls held their gaze on a visual target. Eye movements were measured with high-resolution video-oculography during fellow eye-viewing and amblyopic eye-viewing conditions. Fixational saccades and drifts were analyzed in the amblyopic and fellow eye and compared with controls. RESULTS:We found an increase in the amplitude with decreased frequency of fixational saccades in children with amblyopia. These alterations in fixational eye movements correlated with the severity of their amblyopia. There was also an increase in eye position variance during drifts in amblyopes. There was no correlation between the eye position variance or the eye velocity during ocular drifts and the amplitude of subsequent fixational saccade. Our findings suggest that abnormalities in fixational saccades in amblyopia are independent of the ocular drift. DISCUSSION:This investigation of amblyopia in pediatric age group quantitatively characterizes the fixation instability. Impaired properties of fixational saccades could be the consequence of abnormal processing and reorganization of the visual system in amblyopia. Paucity in the visual feedback during amblyopic eye-viewing condition can attribute to the increased eye position variance and drift velocity.
Project description:Strabismic amblyopia is now acknowledged to be more than a simple loss of acuity and to involve alterations in visually driven attention, though whether this applies to both stimulus-driven and goal-directed attention has not been explored. Hence we investigated monocular threshold performance during a motion salience-driven attention task involving detection of a coherent dot motion target in one of four quadrants in adult controls and those with strabismic amblyopia. Psychophysical motion thresholds were impaired for the strabismic amblyopic eye, requiring longer inspection time and consequently slower target speed for detection compared to the fellow eye or control eyes. We compared fMRI activation and functional connectivity between four ROIs of the occipital-parieto-frontal visual attention network [primary visual cortex (V1), motion sensitive area V5, intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and frontal eye fields (FEF)], during a suprathreshold version of the motion-driven attention task, and also a simple goal-directed task, requiring voluntary saccades to targets randomly appearing along a horizontal line. Activation was compared when viewed monocularly by controls and the amblyopic and its fellow eye in strabismics. BOLD activation was weaker in IPS, FEF and V5 for both tasks when viewing through the amblyopic eye compared to viewing through the fellow eye or control participants' non-dominant eye. No difference in V1 activation was seen between the amblyopic and fellow eye, nor between the two eyes of control participants during the motion salience task, though V1 activation was significantly less through the amblyopic eye than through the fellow eye and control group non-dominant eye viewing during the voluntary saccade task. Functional correlations of ROIs within the attention network were impaired through the amblyopic eye during the motion salience task, whereas this was not the case during the voluntary saccade task. Specifically, FEF showed reduced functional connectivity with visual cortical nodes during the motion salience task through the amblyopic eye, despite suprathreshold detection performance. This suggests that the reduced ability of the amblyopic eye to activate the frontal components of the attention networks may help explain the aberrant control of visual attention and eye movements in amblyopes.
Project description:PURPOSE:We investigated how the abnormalities of fixation eye movements (FEMs) of the amblyopic eye were linked with treatment outcomes following part-time patching therapy in children with amblyopia. METHODS:We recruited 53 patients, with at least 12 months of patching, and measured FEMs at the end of treatment. Subjects were classified based on FEM waveforms (those without nystagmus = 21, those with nystagmus without fusion maldevelopment nystagmus (FMN) = 21, and those with FMN = 11) and based on clinical type of amblyopia (anisometropic = 18, strabismic = 6, and mixed = 29). The treatment outcomes such as duration of treatment of receiving part-time patching therapy, visual acuity and stereo-acuity deficits at the end of treatment were determined. Bivariate contour ellipse area (BCEA), fast (fixational saccade/quick phases), and slow (inter-saccadic drifts/slow phases) FEMs of the fellow and amblyopic eye were analyzed. RESULTS:Anisometropic group had less residual amblyopia (0.23±0.19logMAR acuity) compared to strabismic/mixed (0.36±0.26) groups (p = 0.007). Treatment duration in patients without nystagmus was lower (12.6±9.5months) compared to nystagmus without FMN (25.6±23.2) and FMN (29.5±20.4) groups (p = 0.006). Patients without nystagmus had better stereopsis at the end of treatment (2.3±0.84logarcsecs) compared to nystagmus without FMN (2.6±0.84) group (p = 0.003). The majority of patients with FMN (8/11) had absent stereopsis. BCEA of the amblyopic eye was higher in patients with greater residual visual acuity deficits in patients without nystagmus. No such association was seen in Nystagmus no FMN and FMN groups. Increased amplitude of fast FEMs, increased eye position variance and eye velocity of slow FEMs were seen in patients who had received longer duration of part time patching therapy and in those with greater residual amblyopia, and poor stereopsis at the end of treatment. CONCLUSIONS:Assessment of FEM waveforms and fast and slow FEM characteristics are important measures while describing fixation instability in amblyopia. Several FEM abnormalities were associated with stereo-acuity and visual acuity deficits and treatment duration in patients with amblyopia treated with part time patching therapy.
Project description:Previous studies show slow reading in strabismic amblyopia. We recently identified amblyopia, not strabismus, as the key factor in slow reading in children. No studies have focused on reading in amblyopic children without strabismus. We examined reading in anisometropic children and evaluated whether slow reading was associated with ocular motor dysfunction in children with amblyopia.Anisometropic children (7-12 years) with or without amblyopia were compared to age-similar normal controls. Children silently read a grade-appropriate paragraph during binocular viewing. Reading rate (words/min), number of forward and regressive saccades (per 100 words) and fixation duration were recorded with the ReadAlyzer. Binocular fixation instability was also evaluated (EyeLink 1000).Amblyopic anisometropic children read more slowly (n = 25; mean with standard deviation, 149 ± 42 words/min) than nonamblyopic anisometropic children (n = 15; 196 ± 80 words/min; P = 0.024) and controls (n = 25; 191 ± 65 words/min; P = 0.020). Nonamblyopic anisometropic children read at a comparable rate to controls (P = 0.81). Slow reading in amblyopic anisometropic children was correlated with increased forward saccades (r = -0.84, P < 0.001), increased regressive saccades (r = -0.85, P < 0.001), and fellow eye instability during binocular viewing (r = -0.52, P = 0.019).Slow reading in school-age children with anisometropic amblyopia is related to increased frequency of saccades and fixation instability of the fellow eye. Further research should consider the effects of slower reading on academic performance.
Project description:Fixational eye movements are of particular interest for three reasons. They are critical for preventing visual fading and enhancing visual perception; their disconjugacy allows scanning in three dimensions, and their neural correlates span through the cortico-striatal, striato-collicular and brainstem networks. Fixational eye movements are altered in various pediatric ophthalmologic and neurologic disorders. The goal of this study was to compare the dynamics of fixational eye movements in normal children and adults.We measured the fixational saccades and inter-saccadic drifts in eye positions using infrared video-oculography in children and adults. We assessed the frequency, amplitude, main-sequence, and disconjugacy of fixational saccades as well as the intra-saccadic drift velocity and variance between these two groups.We found a similar frequency but an increase in the amplitude of fixational saccades in children compared to adults. We also found that the fixational saccades were more conjugate in children than in adults. The inter-saccadic drifts were comparable between the two groups.This study provides normative values of dynamics of fixational eye movement in children and adults. The greater disconjugacy of fixational saccades in adults suggests the existence of neural mechanisms that can independently regulate the movements of two eyes. The differences between adult and pediatric populations could be due to completion of the development of binocularly independent regulation of fixational saccades nearing adulthood. The alternate possibility is that the increased disconjugacy between the two eyes may represent a deficiency in the eye movement performance as a function of increasing age.
Project description:Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of the visual system, as a result of discordant visual experience during infancy or early childhood. Because amblyopia is typically defined as monocularly reduced visual acuity accompanied by one or more known amblyogenic factors, it is often assumed that the fellow eye is normal and sufficient for tasks like reading and eye-hand coordination. Recent scientific evidence of ocular motor, visual, and visuomotor deficits that are present with fellow eye monocular viewing and with binocular viewing calls this assumption into question. This clinical update reviews the research that has revealed fellow ocular motor and visual deficits and the effect that these deficits have on an amblyopic child's visuomotor and visuocognitive skills. We need to understand how to prevent and rehabilitate the effects of amblyopia not only on the nonpreferred eye but also on the fellow eye.
Project description:Cognition is very important in our daily life. However, amblyopia has abnormal visual cognition. Physiological changes of the brain during processes of cognition could be reflected with ERPs. So the purpose of this study was to investigate the speed and the capacity of resource allocation in visual cognitive processing in orientation discrimination task during monocular and binocular viewing conditions of amblyopia and normal control as well as the corresponding eyes of the two groups with ERPs. We also sought to investigate whether the speed and the capacity of resource allocation in visual cognitive processing vary with target stimuli at different spatial frequencies (3, 6 and 9 cpd) in amblyopia and normal control as well as between the corresponding eyes of the two groups. Fifteen mild to moderate anisometropic amblyopes and ten normal controls were recruited. Three-stimulus oddball paradigms of three different spatial frequency orientation discrimination tasks were used in monocular and binocular conditions in amblyopes and normal controls to elicit event-related potentials (ERPs). Accuracy (ACC), reaction time (RT), the latency of novelty P300 and P3b, and the amplitude of novelty P300 and P3b were measured. Results showed that RT was longer in the amblyopic eye than in both eyes of amblyopia and non-dominant eye in control. Novelty P300 amplitude was largest in the amblyopic eye, followed by the fellow eye, and smallest in both eyes of amblyopia. Novelty P300 amplitude was larger in the amblyopic eye than non-dominant eye and was larger in fellow eye than dominant eye. P3b latency was longer in the amblyopic eye than in the fellow eye, both eyes of amblyopia and non-dominant eye of control. P3b latency was not associated with RT in amblyopia. Neural responses of the amblyopic eye are abnormal at the middle and late stages of cognitive processing, indicating that the amblyopic eye needs to spend more time or integrate more resources to process the same visual task. Fellow eye and both eyes in amblyopia are slightly different from the dominant eye and both eyes in normal control at the middle and late stages of cognitive processing. Meanwhile, abnormal extents of amblyopic eye do not vary with three different spatial frequencies used in our study.
Project description:Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of vision that occurs when the visual cortex receives decorrelated inputs from the two eyes during an early critical period of development. Amblyopic eyes are subject to suppression from the fellow eye, generate weaker visual evoked potentials (VEPs) than fellow eyes and have multiple visual deficits including impairments in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Primate models and human psychophysics indicate that stronger suppression is associated with greater deficits in amblyopic eye contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. We tested whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the visual cortex would modulate VEP amplitude and contrast sensitivity in adults with amblyopia. tDCS can transiently alter cortical excitability and may influence suppressive neural interactions. Twenty-one patients with amblyopia and twenty-seven controls completed separate sessions of anodal (a-), cathodal (c-) and sham (s-) visual cortex tDCS. A-tDCS transiently and significantly increased VEP amplitudes for amblyopic, fellow and control eyes and contrast sensitivity for amblyopic and control eyes. C-tDCS decreased VEP amplitude and contrast sensitivity and s-tDCS had no effect. These results suggest that tDCS can modulate visual cortex responses to information from adult amblyopic eyes and provide a foundation for future clinical studies of tDCS in adults with amblyopia.
Project description:Develop a paradigm to map binocular perceptual visual distortions in adult amblyopes and visually normal controls, measure their stability over time, and determine the relationship between strength of binocular single vision and distortion magnitude.Perceptual visual distortions were measured in 24 strabismic, anisometropic, or microtropic amblyopes (interocular acuity difference ? 0.200 logMAR or history of amblyopia treatment) and 10 controls (mean age 27.13 ± 10.20 years). The task was mouse-based target alignment on a stereoscopic liquid crystal display monitor, measured binocularly five times during viewing dichoptically through active shutter glasses, amblyopic eye viewing cross-hairs, fellow eye viewing single target dots (16 locations within central 5°), and five times nondichoptically, with all stimuli visible to either eye. Measurements were repeated over time (1 week, 1 month) in eight amblyopic subjects, evaluating test-retest reliability. Measurements were also correlated against logMAR visual acuity, horizontal prism motor fusion range, Frisby/Preschool Randot stereoacuity, and heterophoria/heterotropia prism cover test measurement.Sixty-seven percent (16/24) of amblyopes had significant perceptual visual distortions under dichoptic viewing conditions compared to nondichoptic viewing conditions and dichoptic control group performance. Distortions correlated with the strength of motor fusion (r = -0.417, P = 0.043) and log stereoacuity (r = 0.492, P = 0.015), as well as near angle of heterotropic/heterophoric deviation (r = 0.740, P < 0.001), and, marginally, amblyopia depth (r = 0.405, P = 0.049). Global distortion index (GDI, mean displacement) remained, overall, consistent over time (median change in GDI between baseline and 1 week = -0.03°, 1 month = -0.08°; x-axis Z = 4.4256, P < 0.001; y-axis Z = 5.0547, P < 0.001).Perceptual visual distortions are stable over time and associated with poorer binocular function, greater amblyopia depth, and larger angles of ocular deviation. Assessment of distortions may be relevant for recent perceptual learning paradigms specifically targeting binocular vision.
Project description:Re-establishing normal binocular visual processing is the key to amblyopia recovery beyond the critical period of visual development. Here, by combining perceptual learning, behavioral testing, and steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs), we examined how monocular perceptual learning in the amblyopic eye could change binocular visual processing in the adolescent and adult amblyopic visual system. We found that training reduced the interocular difference between amblyopic and fellow eyes and increased the amplitude of a binocular SSVEP component, with a significant negative correlation between the two measures. Our results demonstrate that training in the amblyopic eye primarily improves binocular rather than monocular visual processing in the amblyopic visual system, suggesting that behavioral training could potentially address key neural deficits in adolescent and adult amblyopia.
Project description:Dichoptic movie viewing has been shown to significantly improve visual acuity in amblyopia in children. Moreover, short-term occlusion of the amblyopic eye can transiently increase its contribution to binocular fusion in adults. In this study, we first asked whether dichoptic movie viewing could improve the visual function of amblyopic subjects beyond the critical period. Secondly, we tested if this effect could be enhanced by short-term monocular occlusion of the amblyopic eye. 17 subjects presenting stable functional amblyopia participated in this study. 10 subjects followed 6 sessions of 1.5 hour of dichoptic movie viewing (nonpatched group), and 7 subjects, prior to each of these sessions, had to wear an occluding patch over the amblyopic eye for two hours (patched group). Best-corrected visual acuity, monocular contrast sensitivity, interocular balance, and stereoacuity were measured before and after the training. For the nonpatched group, mean amblyopic eye visual acuity significantly improved from 0.54 to 0.46 logMAR (p < 0.05). For the patched group, mean amblyopic eye visual acuity significantly improved from 0.62 to 0.43 logMAR (p < 0.05). Stereoacuity improved significantly when the data of both groups were combined. No significant improvement was observed for the other visual functions tested. Our training procedure combines modern video technologies and recent fundamental findings in human plasticity: (i) long-term plasticity induced by dichoptic movie viewing and (ii) short-term adaptation induced by temporary monocular occlusion. This passive dichoptic movie training approach is shown to significantly improve visual acuity of subjects beyond the critical period. The addition of a short-term monocular occlusion to the dichoptic training shows promising trends but was not significant for the sample size used here. The passive movie approach combined with interocular contrast balancing even over such a short period as 2 weeks has potential as a clinical therapy to treat amblyopia in older children and adults.