Amblyopia is a developmental disorder of vision that affects 3-5% of children in the US. The goals of our work are to more fully characterize the disorder and identify the neural mechanisms underlying the visual losses experienced by amblyopic individuals. Amblyopia is now known to include far more diverse visual losses than simple acuity, including abnormalities in binocular vision, global form perception, visuomotor coordination and even some higher order cognitive functions. These deficiencies are typically not ameliorated by standard amblyopia treatment. There is no clear understanding of the neural basis for the full range of amblyopic deficits. We study a nonhuman primate model for the human visual system for this work so that we can directly assess the neural correlates of developmental visual disability without compromising the visual welfare of any child. The studies we propose in this renewal application build directly on our findings from previous project periods to move us closer to developing a full understanding of the nature of amblyopic vision loss. The proposed work strives to directly assess the neural mechanisms underlying amblyopia in awake, behaving nonhuman primates while they perform behavioral tasks that exemplify amblyopic losses in global form perception, natural image processing and visual attention. Since amblyopia is predominantly a disorder of spatial vision we plan to target the ventral cortical visual pathway. We plan to study higher-order visual functions that have been linked to neural activity in area V4 in primates.
In Aim 1, we plan to use two assays of form perception: Glass pattern perception and radial frequency discrimination, to study both global form perception and shape discrimination losses.
In Aim 2, we will evaluate the extent to which compromised discrimination of natural image statistics, which we have identified in amblyopia, affects the processing of natural images.
In Aim 3, we will directly evaluate whether there is a neural deficit in attentional processing in amblyopia. The neural recordings will be conducted using multi-electrode ?Utah? arrays placed in the near-foveal representation of area V4. We will use population decoding and correlational analyses to compare behavioral performance and neural activity between the eyes of amblyopes for the specific visual conditions we plan to study. The results will be used to evaluate and refine current thinking on the neural disorder underlying amblyopia. Our research will ultimately inform efforts to treat and prevent amblyopia development in children.

Public Health Relevance

The major goal of this work is to understand the origins and neural correlates of amblyopia, a developmental disorder of vision that affects 3-5% of children in the US. We study in parallel visual ability and neural activity in individuals with amblyopia. Through our research, better more effective interventions can be developed to prevent or treat the disorder.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Araj, Houmam H
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New York University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
New York
United States
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Pham, Amelie; Carrasco, Marisa; Kiorpes, Lynne (2018) Endogenous attention improves perception in amblyopic macaques. J Vis 18:11
Hallum, Luke E; Shooner, Christopher; Kumbhani, Romesh D et al. (2017) Altered Balance of Receptive Field Excitation and Suppression in Visual Cortex of Amblyopic Macaque Monkeys. J Neurosci 37:8216-8226
Shooner, Christopher; Hallum, Luke E; Kumbhani, Romesh D et al. (2017) Asymmetric Dichoptic Masking in Visual Cortex of Amblyopic Macaque Monkeys. J Neurosci 37:8734-8741
Voyles, Angela C; Kiorpes, Lynne (2016) A Window into brain development: hdEEG methods to track visual development in nonhuman primates. Dev Neurobiol 76:1342-1359
Kiorpes, Lynne (2016) The Puzzle of Visual Development: Behavior and Neural Limits. J Neurosci 36:11384-11393
Kiorpes, Lynne; Mangal, Paul (2015) ""Global"" visual training and extent of transfer in amblyopic macaque monkeys. J Vis 15:14
Kiorpes, Lynne (2015) Visual development in primates: Neural mechanisms and critical periods. Dev Neurobiol 75:1080-90
Shooner, Christopher; Hallum, Luke E; Kumbhani, Romesh D et al. (2015) Population representation of visual information in areas V1 and V2 of amblyopic macaques. Vision Res 114:56-67
Li, Da-Peng; Hagan, Maureen A; Kiorpes, Lynne (2013) Linking structure and function: development of lateral spatial interactions in macaque monkeys. Vis Neurosci 30:263-70
Kiorpes, Lynne; Price, Tracy; Hall-Haro, Cynthia et al. (2012) Development of sensitivity to global form and motion in macaque monkeys (Macaca nemestrina). Vision Res 63:34-42

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