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Eric S. Seemiller, Bruce G. Cumming, T. Rowan Candy; Human infants can generate vergence responses to retinal disparity by 5 to 10 weeks of age. Journal of Vision 2018;18(6):17. doi: 10.1167/18.6.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Vergence is defined as a binocular eye movement during which the two eyes move in opposite directions to align to a target in depth. In adults, fine vergence control is driven primarily by interocular retinal image disparity. Although infants have not typically been shown to respond to disparity until 3 to 5 months postpartum, they have been shown to align their eyes from hours after birth. It remains unclear what drives these responses in young infants. In this experiment, 5- to 10-week-old human infants were presented with a dynamic random noise stimulus oscillating in disparity at 0.1 Hz over an amplitude of 2° for 30 s. Fourier transforms of the horizontal eye movements revealed significant disparity-driven responses at the frequency of the stimulus in over half of the tested infants. Because the stimulus updated dynamically, this experiment precluded the possibility of independent monocular fixations to a sustained target. These data demonstrate cortical binocular function in humans by five weeks, the youngest age tested here, which is as much as two months younger than previously believed.
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