Adults with amblyopia were recently shown to perform abnormally in tasks requiring integration of local features into global percepts. Moreover, spatial interactions in amblyopic patients, though often found to be abnormal, showed marked variability. Here we measured collinear lateral interactions using Gabor patches in a large number of amblyopic (N = 75) and normal subjects (N = 25), testing four spatial frequencies (1.5, 3, 6, 9 cpd). We used the lateral masking paradigm, in which the contrast-detection threshold is measured in the presence of high-contrast flankers at different distances from a central target. Whereas in normal subjects spatial interaction patterns were evident across all spatial frequencies, amblyopic subjects showed abnormal spatial interactions and increasing deficiencies with increasing spatial frequencies. These abnormalities depended on the axis of astigmatism (in meridional amblyopia) and were more pronounced in strabismic than in anisometropic amblyopia. Spatial interactions were independent on the contrast-detection thresholds. Thus, adults with amblyopia might perform as well as normal observers for some stimulus parameters and abnormally for others. Our results indicate a close relationship between abnormal visual input to the visual cortex during development and abnormal functionality of the collinear spatial interactions in adults with amblyopia.
- Lateral interaction
- Spatial interaction