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Opponent-color detection threshold asymmetries may result from reduction of ganglion cell subpopulations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2009

Vincent A. Billock
College of Optometry, Ohio State University, Columbus,
Algis J. Vingrys
College of Optometry, Ohio State University, Columbus,
P. Ewen King-Smith
College of Optometry, Ohio State University, Columbus,


Thresholds for psychophysically opposite stimuli—light and dark, or equiluminous red and green, or equiluminous blue and yellow—are usually nearly equal. This color threshold symmetry is sometimes violated in subjects who have optic nerve hypoplasia, a congenital loss of retinal ganglion cells. We describe a subject who has optic nerve hypoplasia, who exhibits large red-green and blue-yellow detection threshold asymmetries for equiluminous spots. Temporal and spatial integration for equiluminous red and green test spots also differed from normal; static perimetric thresholds for equiluminous green, blue, and yellow (but not red) spots lacked the normal “V” shaped minimum at the fovea. These asymmetries may relate to a developmental paucity of some ganglion cell subtypes. Optic nerve hypoplasia may allow the contributions to detection made by individual ganglion cell subtypes to be isolated psychophysically, in analogy to the study of cone spectral sensitivity in dichromats.

Research Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1994

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