Video: Researchers Discover Ocular Dominance Patterns are Diverse

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 13:11

SUNY Optometry researchers discovered that cortical maps for eye dominance are very diverse because the amount of cortex available to represent each binocular point varies greatly across species.

According to a study that will be published in the Journal of Neuroscience on November 14, 2019, researchers found evidence that ocular dominance patterns are diverse because the amount of cortex available to represent each binocular point varies greatly across species and individual animals of the same species, SciTechDaily reports.

In humans, the primary visual cortex devotes large cortical rectangles to represent each binocular point, allowing the afferents from the two eyes to form stripes running parallel along the shortest axis of the rectangle. However, in cats, the cortex devotes smaller cortical squares to represent each binocular point and the afferents are constrained to form blob patterns. Finally, in mice, the cortex is too small and the few afferents representing the same binocular point mix and form no specific pattern.

The researchers also found that, when cortical resources decrease to represent points that are increasingly farther from the point of visual fixation, the half eye that is closest to the nose (nasal retina) dominates and gains access to more cortical space than the other half eye (temporal retina). Therefore, just as the right hand dominates motor processing in right-handed humans, the nasal retina dominates visual processing and this dominance increases with the distance from the point of fixation.

The work was done by Sohrab Najafian in the laboratory of Jose Manuel Alonso at the State University of New York College of Optometry.

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