September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Vision in the blind
Author Affiliations
  • Ione Fine
    Department of Psychology, University of Washington
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 1348. doi:
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      Ione Fine; Vision in the blind. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1348. doi:

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

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Individuals who are blind early in life show cross-modal plasticity – responses to auditory and tactile stimuli within regions of occipital cortex that are purely visual in the normally sighted. If vision is restored later in life, as occurs in a small number of sight recovery individuals, this cross-modal plasticity persists, even while some visual responsiveness is regained. Here I describe the relationship between cross-modal responses and persisting residual vision. Our results suggest the intriguing possibility that the dramatic changes in function that are observed as a result of early blindness are implemented in the absence of major changes in neuroanatomy at either the micro or macro scale: analogous to reformatting a Windows computer to Linux.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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