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Ethan J. Duwell; Erica N. Woertz; Jedidiah Mathis; Joseph Carroll; Edgar A. DeYoe

Aberrant visual population receptive fields in human albinism

publication date
May 2021
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Retinotopic organization is a fundamental feature of visual cortex thought to play a vital role in encoding spatial information. One important aspect of normal retinotopy is the representation of the right and left hemifields in contralateral visual cortex. However, in human albinism, many temporal retinal afferents decussate aberrantly at the optic chiasm resulting in partially superimposed representations of opposite hemifields in each hemisphere of visual cortex. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in human albinism suggest that the right and left hemifield representations are superimposed in a mirror-symmetric manner. This should produce imaging voxels which respond to two separate locations mirrored across the vertical meridian. However, it is not yet clear how retino-cortical miswiring in albinism manifests at the level of single voxel population receptive fields (pRFs). Here, we used pRF modeling to fit both single and dual pRF models to the visual responses of voxels in visual areas V1 to V3 of five subjects with albinism. We found that subjects with albinism (but not controls) have sizable clusters of voxels with unequivocal dual pRFs consistently corresponding to, but not fully coextensive with, regions of hemifield overlap. These dual pRFs were typically positioned at locations roughly mirrored across the vertical meridian and were uniquely clustered within a portion of the visual field for each subject.


This study shows that retinocortical miswiring in albinism results in single imaging voxels with bilateral dual pRFs. Voxels with dual pRFs are numerous in subjects with albinism but not control subjects and occur selectively in cortical regions where the right and left hemifield representations are superimposed. Our results agree with previous studies which predict that dual pRFs in albinism are positioned at approximately mirror image locations across the VM but suggest that this symmetry is not always precise. Thus, in order to accurately fit responses from all dual pRF voxels, models cannot be rigidly mirror symmetrical, but must instead incorporate some flexibility. Finally, dual pRFs in albinism were not evenly distributed across the visual field, but were instead uniquely clustered within a portion of the visual field for each subject. In the future, mapping subjects’ unique dual pRF distributions could guide spatially focused psychophysical tests aimed at revealing previously undetected perceptual consequences of retinocortical miswiring in albinism.


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Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

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Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

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Seems much less frustrated with life

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Seems much more confident

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When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

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