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Learn Mem. 2013 May 16;20(6):311-7. doi: 10.1101/lm.030361.113.

Repetitive visual stimulation enhances recovery from severe amblyopia.

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Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Severe amblyopia, characterized by a significant reduction in visual acuity through the affected eye, is highly resistant to reversal in adulthood. We have previously shown that synaptic plasticity can be reactivated in the adult rat visual cortex by dark exposure, and the reactivated plasticity can be harnessed to promote the recovery from severe amblyopia. Here we show that deprived-eye visually evoked responses are rapidly strengthened in dark-exposed amblyopes by passive viewing of repetitive visual stimuli. Surprisingly, passive visual stimulation rapidly enhanced visually evoked responses to novel stimuli and enhanced the recovery from severe amblyopia driven by performance of active visual discriminations. Thus a series of simple, noninvasive manipulations of visual experience can be used in combination to significantly guide the recovery of visual response strength, selectivity, and spatial acuity in adult amblyopes.

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