Brief Daily Periods of Binocular Vision Prevent Deprivation-Induced Acuity Loss
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The role of experience in the development of the central visual pathways has been explored in the past through examination of the consequences of imposed periods of continuously abnormal or biased visual input. The massive changes in the visual cortex (area 17) induced by selected early visual experience, especially monocular deprivation (MD) or experience (ME) where patterned visual input is provided to just one eye, are accompanied by profound and long-standing visual deficits. Although the use of exclusively abnormal experience permits identification of those aspects of the visual cortex and of visual function that can be influenced by visual experience during development, this approach may provide a distorted view of the nature of the role of visual experience because of the absence of any normal visual input. In this study a different approach was used whereby animals were provided daily with separate periods of normal (i.e., binocular exposure) and abnormal (monocular exposure) visual experience. We show that 2 hr of daily normal concordant binocular experience (BE) can outweigh or protect against much longer periods of monocular deprivation (MD) and permit the development of normal visual acuities in the two eyes. This result is not what would be expected if all visual input had equal influence on visual development.
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