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Donald E. Mitchell, Nathan A. Crowder, Kevin R. Duffy; The critical period for darkness-induced recovery of the vision of the amblyopic eye following early monocular deprivation. Journal of Vision 2019;19(6):25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.6.25.
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Exposure of kittens to complete darkness for 10 days has been shown (Duffy & Mitchell, 2013) to reverse the loss of visual acuity that follows a prior period of monocular deprivation (MD). In that study, recovery of acuity in the previously deprived eye was fast despite the fact that darkness was imposed 2 months after the period of MD when kittens were 3 months old. In a later study (Holman, Duffy, & Mitchell, 2018), it was demonstrated that the same period of darkness was ineffective when it was imposed on cats about 1 year old, suggesting that dark exposure may only promote recovery when applied within an early critical period. To determine the profile of this critical period, the identical period of darkness (10 days) was imposed on kittens at various ages that had all received the same 7-day period of MD from postnatal day 30 (P30). Recovery of the acuity of the deprived eye as measured by use of a jumping stand was complete when darkness was imposed prior to P186 days, but thereafter, darkness induced progressively smaller acuity improvements and was ineffective in kittens when it began at or beyond P191 days of age. These data indicate a critical period for darkness-induced recovery with an abrupt end over a 5-day period.
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