August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Macular degeneration affects functional connectivity of primary visual cortex
Author Affiliations
  • Kristina Visscher
    Neurobiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Rodolphe Nenert
    Neurology, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Dawn DeCarlo
    Ophthalmology, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Richard Chen
    Neurobiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Lesley Ross
    Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 956. doi:
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      Kristina Visscher, Rodolphe Nenert, Dawn DeCarlo, Richard Chen, Lesley Ross; Macular degeneration affects functional connectivity of primary visual cortex. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):956.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Macular degeneration (MD) accounts for about half of all vision impairment or blind registrations in the developed world. It results in reduced central vision and impairment in tasks of daily living such as reading, driving and recognizing faces. In the human brain, the occipital lobe contains retinotopic representations of the visual field and the representation of the central retina in early visual areas is found at the occipital pole. Following loss of central vision, some studies have suggested that the portion of the primary visual cortex that would normally respond to central vision responds to attended peripheral visual stimuli. Some studies have suggested that this results from changes in top-down signals from regions that are higher in the cortical hierarchy. It is not known how connectivity between V1 and higher order areas changes following macular degeneration. Using BOLD fMRI, we measured changes in functional connectivity to primary visual cortex in a group of patients with central vision loss. We find that local functional connectivity between portions of V1 representing central vision and occipital regions representing peripheral vision are reduced in patients with MD relative to controls. Further, patients with MD showed relatively increased connectivity between V1 and the caudate. These results imply that one result of macular degeneration is a shift of connection patterns of V1.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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