Perceived blur in amblyopia


Simmers AJ, Bex PJ, Hess RF. Perceived blur in amblyopia. Investigative Ophthalmlogy and Visual Science [Internet]. 2003;44:1395–400.


{PURPOSE:} The well-documented fact that visual acuity and contrast sensitivity in amblyopia are attenuated at high spatial frequencies predicts that amblyopes should perceive objects as blurred, because they do not have the high spatial frequency information necessary to represent sharp edges adequately. In the current study, the representation of blur in amblyopia with blur-discrimination and blur-matching tasks was explored in a series of experiments. {METHODS:} Monocular blur-discrimination thresholds were measured in a spatial two-alternative forced-choice procedure. Observers were required to discriminate which edge (right or left) appeared to be the lesser blurred. Observers also interocularly matched edges that were identical with those used in the blur-discrimination tasks, with the exception that they were viewed dichoptically at all times. {RESULTS:} Blur-discrimination thresholds were elevated in both the amblyopic and fellow fixing eyes but were within the normal range for interocular matching thresholds. {CONCLUSIONS:} The results suggest that blur is veridically represented in the amblyopic visual system. The surprising result is that all amblyopes, even those with the most severe visual loss, veridically matched all blurred edges, including the sharpest ones. This implies that amblyopes are able to represent levels of blur that are defined by spatial structure beyond their resolution limit.