Vernier acuity of normal and visually deprived cats
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This study examines the relationship between grating and vernier acuity in cats that were either normally reared, unilaterally amblyopic as a result of a period of monocular deprivation, or bilaterally amblyopic resulting from a period of reverse occlusion followed by binocular visual experience. Vernier acuity was assessed on a jumping stand by use of a vernier-grating stimulus similar to that devised for use with human infants. The vernier thresholds for normal cats were 1.2-1.3 min arc, values that were approx. 6 times better than their grating acuity, and hence may represent a true hyperacuity. By contrast, the vernier acuity of the visually deprived cats were substantially below normal (19-83 min arc). The vernier thresholds for the deprived eye of the monocularly deprived cat and both eyes of the reverse occluded cats had fallen to the point where they were at best equal, and sometimes worse than the corresponding grating acuity. This pattern of results is similar to those observed in some types of human amblyopia, where vernier acuity also no longer represents a hyperacuity, and where in severe cases the thresholds may be worse than grating acuity.
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