A 21-year-old male presented with occipital lobes that were extensively damaged by bilateral infarcts present at birth. The absence of the striate cortex was confirmed with anatomic and functional MRI and high-resolution EEG. His cortical visual impairment was severe, but he retained a remarkable ability to see fast-moving stimuli. Horizontal optokinetic nystagmus could be elicited from either eye. Resolution acuity was close to normal providing the patient was allowed to move his head and eyes. The direction of motion in random-dot patterns could be discriminated with perfect accuracy at speeds above 2 deg/s, and the patient reported that he could ‘see’ the motion at fast but not at slow speeds. This conscious residual vision for motion is known as Riddoch's phenomenon, but it has never been reported in the complete absence of the striate cortex. Functional neuroimaging revealed activation that was outside the motion-responsive regions of the extrastriate cortex. This case demonstrates remarkable plasticity in the human visual system and may have implications for understanding the functional organization of the motion pathways.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.