Comparison of temporal processing and motion perception in emmetropes and myopes

Kuo, Hui-Ying (2009) Comparison of temporal processing and motion perception in emmetropes and myopes. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


While spatial determinants of emmetropization have been examined extensively in animal models and spatial processing of human myopes has also been studied, there have been few studies investigating temporal aspects of emmetropization and temporal processing in human myopia. The influence of temporal light modulation on eye growth and refractive compensation has been observed in animal models and there is evidence of temporal visual processing deficits in individuals with high myopia or other pathologies. Given this, the aims of this work were to examine the relationships between myopia (i.e. degree of myopia and progression status) and temporal visual performance and to consider any temporal processing deficits in terms of the parallel retinocortical pathways.

Three psychophysical studies investigating temporal processing performance were conducted in young adult myopes and non-myopes: (1) backward visual masking, (2) dot motion perception and (3) phantom contour. For each experiment there were approximately 30 young emmetropes, 30 low myopes (myopia less than 5 D) and 30 high myopes (5 to 12 D). In the backward visual masking experiment, myopes were also classified according to their progression status (30 stable myopes and 30 progressing myopes).

The first study was based on the observation that the visibility of a target is reduced by a second target, termed the mask, presented quickly after the first target. Myopes were more affected by the mask when the task was biased towards the magnocellular pathway; myopes had a 25% mean reduction in performance compared with emmetropes. However, there was no difference in the effect of the mask when the task was biased towards the parvocellular system. For all test conditions, there was no significant correlation between backward visual masking task performance and either the degree of myopia or myopia progression status.

The dot motion perception study measured detection thresholds for the minimum displacement of moving dots, the maximum displacement of moving dots and degree of motion coherence required to correctly determine the direction of motion. The visual processing of these tasks is dominated by the magnocellular pathway. Compared with emmetropes, high myopes had reduced ability to detect the minimum displacement of moving dots for stimuli presented at the fovea (20% higher mean threshold) and possibly at the inferior nasal retina. The minimum displacement threshold was significantly and positively correlated to myopia magnitude and axial length, and significantly and negatively correlated with retinal thickness for the inferior nasal retina. The performance of emmetropes and myopes for all the other dot motion perception tasks were similar.

In the phantom contour study, the highest temporal frequency of the flickering phantom pattern at which the contour was visible was determined. Myopes had significantly lower flicker detection limits (21.8 ± 7.1 Hz) than emmetropes (25.6 ± 8.8 Hz) for tasks biased towards the magnocellular pathway for both high (99%) and low (5%) contrast stimuli. There was no difference in flicker limits for a phantom contour task biased towards the parvocellular pathway. For all phantom contour tasks, there was no significant correlation between flicker detection thresholds and magnitude of myopia.

Of the psychophysical temporal tasks studied here those primarily involving processing by the magnocellular pathway revealed differences in performance of the refractive error groups. While there are a number of interpretations for this data, this suggests that there may be a temporal processing deficit in some myopes that is selective for the magnocellular system. The minimum displacement dot motion perception task appears the most sensitive test, of those studied, for investigating changes in visual temporal processing in myopia. Data from the visual masking and phantom contour tasks suggest that the alterations to temporal processing occur at an early stage of myopia development. In addition, the link between increased minimum displacement threshold and decreasing retinal thickness suggests that there is a retinal component to the observed modifications in temporal processing.

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ID Code: 31905
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Schmid, Katrina & Atchison, David
Keywords: backward visual masking, Dmax, Dmin, dot motion perception, human psychophysics, magnocellular deficit, minimum displacement detection, motion coherence, myopia, myopia progression, phantom contour, refractive error, retinal thickness, visual pathways, visual temporal processing
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 21 Apr 2010 02:32
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:56

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