Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Spatial resolution, contrast sensitivity, and sensitivity to defocus of chicken retinal ganglion cells in vitro


The chicken has been extensively studied as an animal model for myopia because its eye growth is tightly controlled by visual experience. It has been found that the retina controls the axial eye growth rates depending on the amount and the sign of defocus imposed in the projected image. Glucagonergic amacrine cells were discovered that appear to encode for the sign of imposed defocus. It is not clear whether the downstream neurons, the retinal ganglion cells, still have access to this information—and whether it ultimately reaches the brain. We have analyzed the spike rates of chicken retinal ganglion cells in vitro using a microelectrode array. For this purpose, we initially defined spatial resolution and contrast sensitivity in vitro. Two classes of chicken retinal ganglions were found, depending on the linearity of their responses with increasing contrast. Responses generally declined with increasing defocus of the visual stimulus. These responses were well predicted by the modulation transfer function for a diffraction-limited defocused optical system, the first Bessel function. Thus, the studied retinal ganglion cells did not distinguish between a loss of contrast at a given spatial frequency due to reduced contrast of the stimulus pattern or because the pattern was presented out of focus. Furthermore, there was no indication that the retinal ganglion cells responded differently to defocus of either sign, at least for the cells that were recorded in this study.

Corresponding author
*Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Frank Schaeffel, Section of Neurobiology of the Eye, Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Calwerstrasse 7/1, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Visual Neuroscience
  • ISSN: 0952-5238
  • EISSN: 1469-8714
  • URL: /core/journals/visual-neuroscience
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 36 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 187 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.