Is the retina sensitive to the effects of prolonged blur? Academic Article uri icon


  • Two preparations were used to study the developmental effects of prolonged blurring of retinal images on the acuities of retinal ganglion cells. Five kittens were raised from three weeks to six months of age with daily administration of atropine to one eye. Another two kittens were raised from three weeks to 16 weeks with a contact lens of high refractive power fitted to one eye. Behavioural estimates of the visual acuity were made for two animals from each group. Animals of both groups demonstrated an amblyopia in the experimental eye: visual acuity varied from 1.8 to 2.5 cycles per degree compared with 6.0 to 7.5 cycles per degree when using the normal eye. The spatial resolving properties were measured for retinal ganglion cells within the amblyopic eyes of two lens-reared cats and three atropinized cats. Brisk-sustained (X) cells were recorded from along the naso-temporal division. The acuities of ganglion cells from the lens-reared cats were indistinguishable from those from normal cats at comparable eccentricities. However, for the cats raised with atropine administration, sub-normal acuities were determined for retinal ganglion cells from all regions that were studied in the experimental eye. We conclude that blur of retinal images produced by external means has no effect on the resolving power of retinal ganglion cells. The lowered ganglion cell acuities encountered with the atropinized cats must be attributable to a secondary effect of the atropine administration. Organic changes in the retinal blood vessel pattern support this contention.

publication date

  • May 1985