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J Neurol. 2006 Sep;253(9):1203-9. Epub 2006 Apr 28.

Contrast sensitivity, first-order motion and Initial ocular following in demyelinating optic neuropathy.

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  • 1Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


The ocular following response (OFR) is a measure of motion vision elicited at ultra-short latencies by sudden movement of a large visual stimulus. We compared the OFR to vertical sinusoidal gratings (spatial frequency 0.153 cycles/ degrees or 0.458 cycles/ degrees) of each eye in a subject with evidence of left optic nerve demyelination due to multiple sclerosis (MS). The subject showed substantial differences in vision measured with stationary low-contrast Sloan letters (20/63 OD and 20/200 OS at 2.5% contrast) and the Lanthony Desaturated 15-hue color test (Color Confusion Index 1.11 OD and 2.14 OS). Compared with controls, all of the subject's OFR to increasing contrast showed a higher threshold. The OFR of each of the subject's eyes were similar for the 0.153 cycles/ degrees stimulus, and psychophysical measurements of his ability to detect these moving gratings were also similar for each eye. However, with the 0.458 cycles/ degrees stimulus, the subject's OFR was asymmetric and the affected eye showed decreased responses (smaller slope constant as estimated by the Naka-Rushton equation). These results suggest that, in this case, optic neuritis caused a selective deficit that affected parvocellular pathways mediating higher spatial frequencies, lower-contrast, and color vision, but spared the field-holding mechanism underlying the OFR to lower spatial frequencies. The OFR may provide a useful method to study motion vision in individuals with disorders affecting anterior visual pathways.

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