Selective fovea-related deprived activation in retinotopic and high-order visual cortex of human amblyopes

Y. Lerner, T. Hendler*, R. Malach, M. Harel, H. Leiba, C. Stolovitch, P. Pianka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amblyopia is a visual disorder starting at early childhood and characterized by reduced visual acuity not of optical origin or due to any eye disease. One expression of such an anomalous early visual experience is abnormal foveal vision. In a previous fMRI study, faces that were presented to amblyopic eyes evoked little response compared to houses in high-order visual areas. Patients also demonstrated reduced recognition of facial expression, raising the possibility that these face-selective abnormalities are related to foveal vision deficit. Whether this deficit originates in low-level processing or is mediated by compromised activation in high-order visual areas is unresolved. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we explored the impact of amblyopia on the representation of object images presented in foveally biased central versus peripheral retinotopic eccentricities through manipulation of object size. Small and large pictures were correlated to visual acuities of 6/6 and 6/60, respectively. In low-level visual areas, the amblyopic eye showed significantly reduced activation for centrally placed, small pictures than the sound eye, while activation to large pictures was only slightly reduced. Similarly, in high-order visual areas, the amblyopic eye showed marked reduction in activation in the fusiform gyrus, with normal activation in the collateral sulcus. The center/periphery size-related amblyopic outcomes of this study support a "bottom-up" nature of the center-periphery effect observed in high-order visual areas. Taken together, these findings point to the regional extent and functional selectivity of fovea-related cortical reorganization that is related to abnormal visual development of one eye.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2006


FundersFunder number
Iowa Science Foundation77/00
Tel Aviv University8009


    • Amblyopia
    • Center/periphery
    • Object recognition
    • Size effect
    • fMRI


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