The Adult Human Brain Retains a Large Amount of Plasticity

1590 Words Feb 21st, 2018 6 Pages
This is perhaps particularly true of the neural mechanisms underlying sensory perception, where substantial behavioural and neural changes have been demonstrated in a wide variety of sensory functions following experience. Sensory plasticity has been recognised for its rehabilitative potential, for instance through perceptual training regimes, which have been used to improve visual function in adults with amblyopia, a developmental disorder of vision, and those with central vision loss. Now a new study provides evidence for visual plasticity in adults with long-standing central vision loss who did not undergo any specific training (Chung, 2013a).

Central vision loss, primarily brought about by age-related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the developed world (Bunce and Wormald, 2006). The vast majority of individuals with central vision loss develop a preferred retinal locus (PRL), a specific region of the peripheral visual field that they use to perform everyday tasks such as reading. However, peripheral vision is limited in a number of ways in comparison to foveal vision. For example, in people with normal vision, reading speed, contrast sensitivity and visual acuity are worse in the periphery compared to the fovea. Additionally, peripheral vision is limited by visual crowding, which describes the increased…
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