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By Roni Caryn Rabin Ever since he had Lasik surgery two years ago, Geobanni Ramirez sees everything in triplicate. The surgery he hoped would improve his vision left the 33-year-old graphic artist struggling with extreme light sensitivity, double vision and visual distortions that create halos around bright objects and turn headlights into blinding starbursts. His eyes are so dry and sore that he puts drops in every half-hour; sometimes they burn “like when you’re chopping onions.” His night vision is so poor that going out after dark is treacherous. But Mr. Ramirez says that as far as his surgeon is concerned, he is a success story. “My vision is considered 20/20, because I see the A’s, B’s and C’s all the way down the chart,” said Mr. Ramirez. “But I see three A’s, three B’s, three C’s.” None of the surgeons he consulted ever warned him he could sustain permanent damage following Lasik, he added. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first lasers to correct vision in the 1990s. Roughly 9.5 million Americans have had laser eye surgery, lured by the promise of a quick fix ridding them of nettlesome glasses and contact lenses. There is also a wide perception among patients, fostered by many eye doctors who do the surgery, that the procedure is virtually foolproof. As far back as 2008, however, patients who had received Lasik and their families testified at an F.D.A. meeting about impaired vision and chronic pain that led to job loss and disability, social isolation, depression — and even suicides. Even now, serious questions remain about both the short- and long-term risks and the complications of this increasingly common procedure. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 25080 - Posted: 06.12.2018

By LISA SANDERS, M.D. The young woman rubbed her eyes. The numbers and letters on her computer screen jumped erratically. So did the world around her. This had happened before, but late at night when she was tired, never in the middle of the day. The light from the screen suddenly seemed too bright. And her headache, the one that was always present these days, tightened from a dull ache to a squeezing pressure on the back of her head and neck. Nearly in tears from pain and frustration, the 19-year-old called her mother. She couldn’t see; she couldn’t drive. Could her mother pick her up from work? The problems with her eyes began in grade school. Two years earlier, she nearly went blind. All she could see on the left was a rim of light. Everything else was blocked by a big black spot. And then a black dot appeared in her right eye as well. Her parents took her to see many eye doctors, only to be told that there was nothing wrong. One doctor told them that she had “emotional blindness.” The young woman’s vision somehow got a lot better on its own, and though the black dot still obstructed some of her vision, for the last eight months she’d been able to drive — so important in this small mountain town an hour north of San Diego. Now she couldn’t see for what seemed like a different reason. The young woman’s mother arranged for her to go to San Diego to see a neuro-ophthalmologist — a doctor who specializes in vision problems that originate in the brain. When they got to the office, though, the young woman’s vision and headache had returned to their imperfect but baseline state. She told the doctor that her symptoms were least intrusive in the morning; standing and walking seemed to make everything worse. Come back later, the doctor instructed. Mother and daughter walked around and shopped. When a couple of hours later the daughter’s eyes started jumping and her headache worsened, they hurried back to the office. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 24946 - Posted: 05.07.2018

by Eli Rosenberg At least a dozen and a half people have been diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer in two locations in North Carolina and Alabama, leaving medical experts mystified about the cause. Ocular melanoma occurs in about 6 out of every 1 million people, according to CBS News, and at least 18 people who have been diagnosed with the eye cancer have connections to Huntersville, N.C., Auburn, Ala., or both locations. Marlana Orloff, an oncologist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, is studying the cases with her colleagues, according to CBS. “Most people don’t know anyone with this disease,” Orloff said. “We said, 'Okay, these girls were in this location, they were all definitively diagnosed with this very rare cancer — what’s going on?’ ” Alabama health officials have declined to call the outbreak a cluster yet. Three friends, Juleigh Green, Allison Allred and Ashley McCrary, are among those who have been treated for the cancer, and two of them, Green and Allred, had to get an eye removed. “What’s crazy is literally standing there, I was like, ‘Well, I know two people who’ve had this cancer,’ ” McCrary said. Many of the patients are now traveling to Philadelphia for treatment. The cancer has presented complications for some of the patients, CBS reported. Lori Lee, an Auburn University graduate, had the cancer metastasize in her liver. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24926 - Posted: 05.01.2018

Jaclyn was diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness, at the age of age four. "I was surprised to learn that she needed glasses," recalled her mother, Ellen Rosenberg, in Toronto. Jaclyn wears glasses all the time at school, where they help her to read and write, she said. Her vision isn't so poor that she trips on things when she takes them off to play sports, Rosenberg said. But in a recent study, more than 30 per cent of young Canadian children walked around with fuzzy vision because of myopia that, unlike Jaclyn's, went undiagnosed. Now experts are exploring a simple way to turn the tide on the worsening problem. Myopia is "increasing globally at an alarming rate," according to the World Health Organization. It affects an estimated 1.89 billion people worldwide, and if rates don't change, that could rise to 2.56 billion by 2020 — a third of the population. Research suggests spending time outdoors protects against myopia. (Pond5) In what they call the first study of its kind in Canada, optometrists in Waterloo, Ont., found the rate of myopia was six per cent in children aged 6 to 8. That soared to 28.9 per cent in children aged 11 to 13. In myopia or nearsightedness, the eyeball doesn't get enough light and elongates. The condition isn't innocuous, said study author Debbie Jones, a clinical professor of optometry at the University of Waterloo and a scientist at the Centre for Ocular Research & Education. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 24884 - Posted: 04.21.2018

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements taken orally proved no better than placebo at relieving symptoms or signs of dry eye, according to the findings of a well-controlled trial funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. Dry eye disease occurs when the film that coats the eye no longer maintains a healthy ocular surface, which can lead to discomfort and visual impairment. The condition affects an estimated 14 percent of adults in the United States. The paper was published online April 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Annual sales of fish- and animal-derived supplements amount to more than a $1-billion market in the United States, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Many formulations are sold over-the-counter, while others require a prescription or are available for purchase from a health care provider. “The trial provides the most reliable and generalizable evidence thus far on omega-3 supplementation for dry eye disease,” said Maryann Redford, D.D.S., M.P.H., program officer for clinical research at NEI. Despite insufficient evidence establishing the effectiveness of omega-3s, clinicians and their patients have been inclined to try the supplements for a variety of conditions with inflammatory components, including dry eye. “This well-controlled investigation conducted by the independently-led Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) Research Group shows that omega-3 supplements are no better than placebo for typical patients who suffer from dry eye.” The 27-center trial enrolled 535 participants with at least a six-month history of moderate to severe dry eye. Among them, 349 people were randomly assigned to receive 3 grams daily of fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids in five capsules.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24868 - Posted: 04.16.2018

By Anna Azvolinsky In recent years, scientists have accomplished what previously was saved for miracle workers: they have given blind patients the ability to see better. In 2017, the vision field saw an enormous advance with the approval Luxturna, the first gene therapy to correct vision loss in certain patients with childhood onset blindness. And just last week, researchers reported that a retinal implant allowed a 69-year-old woman with macular degeneration to more than double the number of letters she could identify on a vision chart. “It’s early data but very promising, including one patient with impressive vision gains, for a disease where we don’t have any treatment options,” says Thomas Albini of the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute who was not involved in the study. The implant, given to five patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a single sheet of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Other teams across the globe are inventing their own form of RPE implants, and this type of approach is just one of a plethora of modalities being tested to either slow down or reverse various forms of blindness. © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24858 - Posted: 04.12.2018

Phil Plait I've said this before and I will no doubt say it many times hence: I love optical illusions. For one thing, they're just fun. They warp our sense of reality, and it's really pretty cool to see how easy it is to fool our senses. Some illusions do this in complicated ways that make it hard to understand where our perception goes wrong (and yes, there are entire fields of psychology devoted to figuring out how our brain and eyes physically react to illusions). But others are surprisingly simple, yet are deeply difficult to not see. One of the best is the Müller-Lyer illusion, and the easiest way to describe it is to just show it to you: The two horizontal lines are the same length, but the lower one looks longer thanks to the Müller-Lyer illusion. The two horizontal lines are the same length, but the lower one looks longer thanks to the Müller-Lyer illusion. Despite what your eyes are telling you, those two horizontal lines are the same size! Measure them if you don't believe me. It's an utterly convincing illusion, but an illusion all the same. But still, it's simple, right? Well, visual artist Gianni Sarcone decided to play with this illusion, and created an animated version of it that is simply stunning.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24857 - Posted: 04.12.2018

By James Gallagher Doctors have taken a major step towards curing the most common form of blindness in the UK - age-related macular degeneration. Douglas Waters, 86, could not see out of his right eye, but "I can now read the newspaper" with it, he says. He was one of two patients given pioneering stem cell therapy at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Cells from a human embryo were grown into a patch that was delicately inserted into the back of the eye. Douglas, who is from London, developed severe age-related macular degeneration in his right eye three years ago. The macula is the part of the eye that allows you to see straight ahead - whether to recognise faces, watch TV or read a book. He says: "In the months before the operation my sight was really poor and I couldn't see anything out of my right eye. "It's brilliant what the team have done and I feel so lucky to have been given my sight back." The macula is made up of rods and cones that sense light and behind those are a layer of nourishing cells called the retinal pigment epithelium. When this support layer fails, it causes macular degeneration and blindness. Doctors have devised a way of building a new retinal pigment epithelium and surgically implanting it into the eye. The technique, published in Nature Biotechnology, starts with embryonic stem cells. These are a special type of cell that can become any other in the human body. © 2018 BBC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 24772 - Posted: 03.20.2018

Jason Beaubien The blind have descended in droves on the Bisidimo Hospital in Eastern Ethiopia. The Himalayan Cataract Project is hosting a mass cataract surgery campaign at the medical compound that used to be a leper colony. For one week a team from the nonprofit has set up seven operating tables in four operating rooms and they're offering free cataract surgery to anyone who needs it. On the first day of the campaign it's clear that the need is great. "We have like 700 or 800 patients already in the compound and many more appointed for tomorrow and the day after and the day after that," says Teketel Mathiwos, the Ethiopian program coordinator for the Himalayan Cataract Project. People hoping to get their sight restored are jammed into the compound's main courtyard. Others spill out of an office where optometrists are prepping patients for surgery. The line to get into the actual operating theater extends all the way out of the building, up along a covered walkway and then loops around the corner of another medical building. More still are standing outside the hospital gates. Mathiwos says some patients may have to wait a day or two for the procedure. "They have tents here," Mathiwos says. "We give them the food to eat and we try to take care of them as best as we can." Some of the patients at the Bisidimo Hospital have only one milky eye. Others are blind in both eyes. These patients underwent surgery as part of a campaign run by Himalayan Cataract Project at the Bisidimo Hospital in Ethiopia. The bandages are removed the day after the procedure. Surgeons performed more than 1,600 cataract surgeries during a six-day event in December. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24688 - Posted: 02.22.2018

By Susana Martinez-Conde The latest illusion to go viral in social media depicts two side-by-side stretches of a narrow road, receding in the distance. Both images depict the retreating road at an oblique angle, but the right road’s slant is a lot more pronounced than the slant on the left road. These are two identical photos of a road in Mexico. Credit: Daniel Picon Or is it? In fact, both pictures are identical. As user djeclipz put it, upon sharing the soon-to-become global sensation on Reddit: “This is the same photo, side by side. They are not taken at different angles. Both sides are the same, pixel for pixel.” Advertisement So why do they look so different? The illusion, created in 2010 by the French artist Daniel Picon and entitled “Roads in Mexico,” is a powerful variant of an earlier perceptual phenomenon discovered in 2007 by vision scientists Frederick Kingdom, Ali Yoonessi, and Elena Gheorghiu (all of them then at McGill University). Kingdom and his colleagues dubbed the effect the “Leaning Tower Illusion,” because they first noticed it in a pair of identical photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But, as Kingdom, Yoonesi, and Gheorghiu noted in an excellent Scholarpedia article about their discovery, “the illusion works with any image of a receding object,” including tram lines, train tracks and roads in Mexico. The Leaning Tower Illusion won First Prize in the 2007 Best Illusion of the Year Contest, and is featured prominently in our recent book about the annual competition, Champions of Illusion. An excerpt of Champions of Illusion follows, concerning the bases of this effect: © 2018 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24646 - Posted: 02.12.2018

by Ben Guarino Praying mantises do not perceive the world as you and I do. For starters, they're not very brainy — they're insects. A human brain has 85 billion neurons; insects such as mantises have fewer than a million. But mantises, despite their neuronal drought, have devised a way to see in three dimensions. They have a unique sort of vision unlike the 3-D sight used by primates or any other known creature, scientists at the University of Newcastle in Britain discovered recently. The scientists say they hope to apply this visionary technique to robots, allowing relatively unintelligent machines to see in 3-D. “Praying mantises are really specialized visual predators,” said Vivek Nityananda, an animal behavior expert at the university's Institute of Neuroscience. They are ambush hunters, waiting in stillness to strike at movement. Yet unlike other insects, they have two large, forward-facing eyes — the very feature that enables vertebrates to sense depth. Previous research had suggested that praying mantises use 3-D vision, also called stereopsis. Stereo vision, Nityananda said, is “basically comparing the slightly different views of each eye to be able to work out how far things are from you.” Uncovering the particulars of mantis stereo vision required a lot of patience and a little beeswax. Luckily, Nityananda and his teammates had both. Using the beeswax like glue — in a way that did not harm the insects — they affixed lenses to their faces. The lenses, similar to old-fashioned 3-D movie glasses, had one blue filter paired with one green filter. The mantises then were placed in front of a screen — an insect cinema, the researchers called it. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24636 - Posted: 02.09.2018

By Carly Ledbetter Two years after “the dress” divided people over its color, the internet is back with another puzzling wardrobe question. What color are these shoes? Some people think these Vans sneakers look gray and mint (or teal), while others see pink and white. For some, the color changes the more they stare at the shoes: While others are dead-set on the color they see: Twitter user @dolansmalik explained one theory about why the shoes look like different colors to some people: “THE REAL SHOE IS PINK & WHITE OKAY?!” she wrote on Twitter. “The second pic was with flash & darkened, so it looks teal & gray. (depends on what lighting ur in).” Bevil Conway is an investigator with the National Eye Institute who helped contribute to a study on the differences in color perception for the famous “dress” controversy two years ago. He told HuffPost how and why our eyes play tricks on us, in situations like “the dress” and the shoes above. “This is related to the famous dress insofar as both are related to issues of color constancy,” he explained. “Basically your visual system is constantly trying to color correct the images projected on the retina, to remove the color contamination introduced by the spectral bias in the light source.” Conway explained just how and why some people see turquoise in the shoes, while others see pink. “In that manipulated photograph there is a lot of the turquoise cast over the whole image. When you first look at it, after having looked at the pink version, your visual system is still adapted to the lighting conditions of the pink version and so you see the turquoise in the other version, and you attribute this to the shoe itself,” he said. “But after a while, your visual system adapts to the turquoise across the whole of that image and interprets it as part of the light source, eventually discounting it and restoring the shoe to the original pink version (or at least pinker).” ©2018 Oath Inc.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24575 - Posted: 01.26.2018

By Jocelyn Kaiser Scientists who conduct basic behavioral research are bracing for a policy kicking in this week that will impose new rules on their federally funded studies, many of which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, will now consider clinical trials. Although many researchers maintain that the policy makes no sense and will hinder their work, recent revisions by NIH officials have eased some fears. “There’s still a problem, but the problem is less dire than the original set of concerns that we had,” says cognitive psychologist Jeremy Wolfe of the Harvard University–affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who is also the immediate past president of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) in Washington, D.C. The changes, which take effect for proposals with due dates of 25 January or later, are part of a new clinical trials definition that NIH released in 2014 but only began implementing last year. That was when scientists who use tools such as MRI scans to explore how the normal brain works realized that their studies, which they never thought of as clinical trials because they don’t test drugs or other treatments, fell under the new definition. The change imposed several new requirements on researchers, such as submitting proposals in response to a formal funding opportunity for clinical trials and registering the studies in clinicaltrials.gov, the federal trials database. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 24556 - Posted: 01.24.2018

By Matthew Hutson Imagine searching through your digital photos by mentally picturing the person or image you want. Or sketching a new kitchen design without lifting a pen. Or texting a loved one a sunset photo that was never captured on camera. A computer that can read your mind would find many uses in daily life, not to mention for those paralyzed and with no other way to communicate. Now, scientists have created the first algorithm of its kind to interpret—and accurately reproduce—images seen or imagined by another person. It might be decades before the technology is ready for practical use, but researchers are one step closer to building systems that could help us project our inner mind’s eye outward. “I was impressed that it works so well,” says Zhongming Liu, a computer scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who helped develop an algorithm that can somewhat reproduce what moviegoers see when they’re watching a film. “This is really cool.” Using algorithms to decode mental images isn’t new. Since 2011, researchers have recreated movie clips, photos, and even dream imagery by matching brain activity to activity recorded earlier when viewing images. But these methods all have their limits: Some deal only with narrow domains like face shape, and others can’t build an image from scratch—instead, they must select from preprogrammed images or categories like “person” or “bird.” This new work can generate recognizable images on the fly and even reproduce shapes that are not seen, but imagined. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 24518 - Posted: 01.11.2018

Phil Plait I can't think of a better way to start off a new year than scrambling your brains. Just a little bit! But still: enough to make you scratch your head and wonder just what is wrong with that sack of wrinkly pink goo in your skull. One of my favorite optical illusionists is Akiyoshi Kitaoki. He has created hundreds, maybe thousands, of guaranteed brain-melting illusions that will make you swear that what you're seeing is real when it really, really isn't. He has ones that appear to move, that warp your sense of shape and size, destroy your notion of color, and will make you seriously question whether your eyes and brain are talking to each other in any sort of coherent way. He just posted a new one to Twitter, and I love it for its simplicity and efficiency: It creates two illusions at once. Are you ready? Here it is: I don't know about you, but when I look at this I see alternating squarish shapes (Kitaoka called them turtles, so I'll go with that) arranged like a chessboard, with half darked and half lighter. What's disturbing immediately though is that they don't appear to be separated along straight lines. The vertical border of the turtles on the left appear to curve to the right a bit, and the ones on the right curve left. It makes it look like there's a mound or bulge in the middle of the image.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24484 - Posted: 01.04.2018

By Katherine Sellgren BBC News Kids seem to spend endless hours on smartphones, games consoles, computers and tablets these days. Playing on electronic devices certainly doesn't help their waistlines, but do you ever wonder what regular device use is doing to their eyesight? While there isn't much research out there yet about the impact of screens on eyesight - after all the iPhone was first unveiled by Apple in only 2007 - experts are concerned about growing levels of short-sightedness in children. And they suggest the best thing parents can do to prevent it is to encourage youngsters to spend more time outdoors in the sunlight. How short-sightedness is on the rise There has been a massive rise around the globe in short-sightedness - or myopia as it's officially known - over recent decades. "We know that myopia or short-sightedness is becoming more common," says Chris Hammond, professor of ophthalmology at King's College London and consultant ophthalmic surgeon at St Thomas' Hospital. "It has reached epidemic levels in East Asia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, where approaching 90% of 18-year-olds are now short-sighted. "In Europe, it's potentially getting up to 40% to 50% of young adults in their mid-20s who are short-sighted now in Western Europe. It's been gradually rising over the decades of the 20th Century from around 20-30%." Why has it become so much more common? Annegret Dahlmann-Noor, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London says lack of natural light seems to be the key issue. "The main factor seems to be a lack of exposure to direct sunlight, because children who study a lot and who use computers or smartphones or tablet computers a lot have less opportunity to run around outside and are less exposed to sunshine and because of that seem to be at more risk of developing short-sightedness." Prof Hammond says: "It may be that there's no coincidence that in East Asian countries, the most myopic ones all correlate with the maths league tables. "These kids are being pushed with very intensive education from a very young age and spend a lot of time indoors studying everything close up and very little time outdoors. © 2017 BBC.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24460 - Posted: 12.28.2017

By Rebecca Keogh Imagine you are at Ikea to pick up a sofa for your new flat. You see one you like, a wine-coloured two-seater with big soft cushions. You imagine what it would look like with your current furniture, and decide that’s the sofa you want. As you continue meandering through the store you find a nice industrial-style lamp and coffee table, so you try to imagine what they might look like with the sofa. But imagining all three items together is more difficult than just imagining the sofa alone. How many pieces of furniture do you think you could rearrange in your mind? Is there a limit to how much we can imagine at once, or is our imagination truly unlimited? viewpoints Limitations to our imagery can constrain what we are able to achieve, both in daily life and in therapeutic interventions. This is the question that my supervisor and I tried to answer in our lab at the University of New South Wales recently. Instead of furniture, we used simple shapes known as Gabor patches, which are essentially circles with lines through them. We also used a visual illusion known as binocular rivalry. Binocular rivalry occurs when two different images are shown, one to each eye, and instead of seeing a mix of the two images you see only one of them, either the image that was presented to the left eye or the image presented to the right eye. Previous work by Joel Pearson (my supervisor) has shown that simply imagining a Gabor patch, or seeing a very weak Gabor patch, will make you more likely to see that image in a subsequent binocular rivalry display. Copyright 2017 Undark

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition; Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness; Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24452 - Posted: 12.22.2017

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR A new study suggests that vigorous physical activity may increase the risk for vision loss, a finding that has surprised and puzzled researchers. Using questionnaires, Korean researchers evaluated physical activity among 211,960 men and women ages 45 to 79 in 2002 and 2003. Then they tracked diagnoses of age-related macular degeneration, from 2009 to 2013. Macular degeneration, the progressive deterioration of the central area of the retina, is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. They found that exercising vigorously five or more days a week was associated with a 54 percent increased risk of macular degeneration in men. They did not find the association in women. The study, in JAMA Ophthalmology, controlled for more than 40 variables, including age, medical history, body mass index, prescription drug use and others. The authors write that excessive exercise might affect the eye’s choroid, a sensitive vascular membrane that surrounds the retina, but “epidemiologic studies cannot provide any evidence for the mechanism or pathology.” The authors acknowledge that the study depends partly on self-reports, which are not always reliable, and that it is an observational study that does not prove cause and effect. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24425 - Posted: 12.15.2017

Nell Greenfieldboyce At least one young woman suffered eye damage as a result of unsafe viewing of the recent total solar eclipse, according to a report published Thursday, but it doesn't appear that many such injuries occurred. Doctors in New York say a woman in her 20s came in three days after looking at the Aug. 21 eclipse without protective glasses. She had peeked several times, for about six seconds, when the sun was only partially covered by the moon. The area between the yellow brackets in the top photo shows the damage to the center part of the retina. The middle image is a type of visual field test and the bottom image uses optical coherence tomography. Courtesy of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Four hours later, she started experiencing blurred and distorted vision and saw a central black spot in her left eye. The doctors studied her eyes with several different imaging technologies, described in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, and were able to observe the damage at the cellular level. "We were very surprised at how precisely concordant the imaged damage was with the crescent shape of the eclipse itself," noted Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, a retina surgeon at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York, in an email to NPR. © 2017 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 24404 - Posted: 12.08.2017

By JANE E. BRODY After 72 very nearsighted years, 55 of them spent wearing Coke-bottle glasses, Jane Quinn of Brooklyn, N.Y., is thrilled with how well she can see since having her cataracts removed last year. “It’s very liberating to be able to see without glasses,” Ms. Quinn told me. “My vision is terrific. I can even drive at night. I can’t wait to go snorkeling.” And I was thrilled to be able to tell her that the surgery very likely did more than improve her poor vision. According to the results of a huge new study, it may also prolong her life. The 20-year study, conducted among 74,044 women aged 65 and older, all of whom had cataracts, found a 60 percent lower risk of death among the 41,735 women who had their cataracts removed. The findings were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology in October by Dr. Anne L. Coleman and colleagues at the Stein Eye Institute of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Dr. Victoria L. Tseng as lead author. A cataract is a clouding and discoloration of the lens of the eye. This normally clear structure behind the iris and pupil changes shape, enabling incoming visual images to focus clearly on the retina at the back of the eye. When cataracts form, images get increasingly fuzzy, the eyes become more sensitive to glare, night vision is impaired, and color contrasts are often lost. One friend at 74 realized she needed cataract surgery when she failed to see the yellow highlighted lines in a manuscript she was reading; for her husband, then 75, it was his ophthalmologist who said “it’s time.” Cataracts typically form gradually with age, and anyone who lives long enough is likely to develop them. They are the most frequent cause of vision loss in people over 40. Common risk factors include exposure to ultraviolet radiation (i.e., sunlight), smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, prolonged use of corticosteroids, extreme nearsightedness and family history. © 2017 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 24390 - Posted: 12.05.2017