Is Suppression Just Normal Dichoptic Masking? Suprathreshold Considerations.

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

PubMedID: 27699409

Reynaud A, Hess RF. Is Suppression Just Normal Dichoptic Masking? Suprathreshold Considerations. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016;57(13):5107-5115.
PURPOSE
Amblyopic patients have a deficit in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity in their amblyopic eye as well as suppression of the amblyopic eye input under binocular viewing conditions. In this study we wanted to assess the origin of the amblyopic suppression by studying the contrast perception of the amblyopic eye at suprathreshold levels under binocular and monocular viewing.

METHODS
Using a suprathreshold contrast matching task in which the reference and target stimuli were presented to different eyes either simultaneously or successively, we measured interocular contrast matching in 10 controls and 11 amblyopes (mean age 35 ± 15; 5 strabismics; 3 anisometropes; 3 mixed). This was then used as an index of the binocular balance across spatial frequency and compared against the contrast sensitivity ratio measured with the same stimuli.

RESULTS
We observed that binocular matching becomes more imbalanced at high spatial frequency for amblyopes, compared with controls; that this imbalance did not depend in either group on whether the stimuli were presented simultaneously or successively; and that for both modes of presentation the matching balance correlates well with the interocular contrast sensitivity ratio (mean correlation coefficient of the slopes R = 0.7125).

CONCLUSIONS
The results from our amblyopes show comparable losses of contrast perception at and above threshold under these binocular viewing conditions across a wide spatial frequency range, much stronger than that observed for our controls. This occurs under conditions in which there should be no dichoptic masking. Furthermore, the matching contrast could be well predicted by the monocular contrast sensitivity. Altogether, this suggests that amblyopic suppression cannot be explained by normal dichoptic masking but rather an attenuation of the input.