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Fang-Fang Yan, Jiawei Zhou, Wuxiao Zhao, Min Li, Jie Xi, Zhong-Lin Lu, Chang-Bing Huang; Perceptual learning improves neural processing in myopic vision. Journal of Vision 2015;15(10):12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.10.12.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual performance is jointly determined by the quality of optical transmission of the eye and neural processing in the visual system. An open question is: Can effects of optical defects be compensated by perceptual learning in neural processing? To address this question, we conducted a perceptual learning study on 23 observers with myopic vision, targeting high frequency deficits by training them in a monocular grating detection task in the non-dominant eye near their individual cutoff spatial frequencies. The contrast sensitivity function and visual acuity in both eyes (without optical correction) were assessed for all the observers in the training group before and after training, and for all the observers in the control group twice with a 10-day interval between the tests. In addition, the threshold versus external noise contrast function was measured for five observers in the training group before and after training. We found that (a) training significantly improved contrast sensitivity at the trained spatial frequency, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity over a wide range of spatial frequencies in both eyes; (b) training did not lead to any significant refractive changes; (c) the mechanism of improvements was a combination of internal additive noise reduction and external noise exclusion; and (d) the improvements in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity were almost fully retained for at least four months in the three observers tested. These results suggest that perceptual learning may provide a potential noninvasive procedure to compensate for optical defects in mild to modest myopia.
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