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Dennis Levi; Critical periods and plasticity in humans with amblyopia. Journal of Vision 2005;5(12):39. doi: 10.1167/5.12.39.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Critical periods for experience-dependent plasticity are ubiquitous. The idea that experience-dependent plasticity is closely linked with the development of sensory function is still widely held, however, there is also growing evidence for plasticity in the adult nervous system. This presentation reviews the notion of a critical period for the treatment of amblyopia in light of recent experimental and clinical evidence for neural plasticity. Specifically, several recent studies show adults with amblyopia can improve their perceptual performance via extensive practice on a range of different visual tasks, and that this improvement may transfer to improved visual acuity. Amblyopes achieve this improvement via the mechanisms that have been shown to explain perceptual learning in the normal visual system. I examine the hypothesis that these same mechanisms account for at least some of the improvement that occurs in the treatment of amblyopia.
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