Perceptual visual distortions in adult amblyopia and their relationship to clinical features

Marianne E.F Piano*, Peter J. Bex, Anita J. Simmers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Develop a paradigm to map binocular perceptual visual distortions in adult amblyopes and visually normal controls, measure their stability over time, and determine the relationship between strength of binocular single vision and distortion magnitude.

Methods: Perceptual visual distortions were measured in 24 strabismic, anisometropic, or microtropic amblyopes (interocular acuity difference ≥ 0.200 logMAR or history of amblyopia treatment) and 10 controls (mean age 27.13 ± 10.20 years). The task was mouse-based target alignment on a stereoscopic liquid crystal display monitor, measured binocularly five times during viewing dichoptically through active shutter glasses, amblyopic eye viewing cross-hairs, fellow eye viewing single target dots (16 locations within central 5°), and five times nondichoptically, with all stimuli visible to either eye. Measurements were repeated over time (1 week, 1 month) in eight amblyopic subjects, evaluating test–retest reliability. Measurements were also correlated against logMAR visual acuity, horizontal prism motor fusion range, Frisby/Preschool Randot stereoacuity, and heterophoria/heterotropia prism cover test measurement.

Results: Sixty-seven percent (16/24) of amblyopes had significant perceptual visual distortions under dichoptic viewing conditions compared to nondichoptic viewing conditions and dichoptic control group performance. Distortions correlated with the strength of motor fusion (r = −0.417, P = 0.043) and log stereoacuity (r = 0.492, P = 0.015), as well as near angle of heterotropic/heterophoric deviation (r = 0.740, P < 0.001), and, marginally, amblyopia depth (r = 0.405, P = 0.049). Global distortion index (GDI, mean displacement) remained, overall, consistent over time (median change in GDI between baseline and 1 week = −0.03°, 1 month = −0.08°; x-axis Z = 4.4256, P < 0.001; y-axis Z = 5.0547, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Perceptual visual distortions are stable over time and associated with poorer binocular function, greater amblyopia depth, and larger angles of ocular deviation. Assessment of distortions may be relevant for recent perceptual learning paradigms specifically targeting binocular vision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5533-5542
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • distortion
  • amblyopia
  • binocular vision
  • strabismus


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