Neural site of strabismic amblyopia in cats: spatial frequency deficit in primary cortical neurons Academic Article uri icon


  • The acuities of cells in the primary visual cortex of five tenotomized strabismic cats were measured. Previous behavioural studies have shown such animals to possess a severe amblyopia of approximately 1.5 octaves of spatial frequency, yet the acuities of both retinal ganglion and lateral geniculate X-cells are normal. The receptive fields of the cortical cells sampled were within 5 degrees of the area centralis projection. On average, the acuities of cortical cells driven by the amblyopic eye were nearly 1 octave less than those for the non-deviating eye. However, the best cell acuities for each eye were nearly the same. The relationship between ocular dominance and cell acuity was found to be different for the two eyes despite a symmetrical ocular dominance distribution. The acuity deficit for cells driven through the amblyopic eye was present at all depths along the electrode tracks. We conclude that in this model amblyopia, the initial spatial processing deficit lies in the visual cortex, and most probably in the cells of layer IV. Furthermore, the presence of a few cells driven by the amblyopic eye which can perform nearly as well as those from the fellow eye in processing high spatial frequencies gives new insight into the way in which strabismic and deprivation amblyopias differ.

publication date

  • March 1990