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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 14;8(10):e75987. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075987. eCollection 2013.

Small-aperture monovision and the Pulfrich experience: absence of neural adaptation effects.

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Institute of Vision & Optics (IVO), University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece ; Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.



To explore whether adaptation reduces the interocular visual latency differences and the induced Pulfrich effect caused by the anisocoria implicit in small-aperture monovision.


Anisocoric vision was simulated in two adults by wearing in the non-dominant eye for 7 successive days, while awake, an opaque soft contact lens (CL) with a small, central, circular aperture. This was repeated with aperture diameters of 1.5 and 2.5 mm. Each day, monocular and binocular pattern-reversal Visual Evoked Potentials (VEP) were recorded. Additionally, the Pulfrich effect was measured: the task of the subject was to state whether a a 2-deg spot appeared in front or behind the plane of a central cross when moved left-to-right or right-to-left on a display screen. The retinal illuminance of the dominant eye was varied using neutral density (ND) filters to establish the ND value which eliminated the Pulfrich effect for each lens. All experiments were performed at luminance levels of 5 and 30 cd/m(2).


Interocular differences in monocular VEP latency (at 30 cd/m(2)) rose to about 12-15 ms and 20-25 ms when the CL aperture was 2.5 and 1.5 mm, respectively. The effect was more pronounced at 5 cd/m(2) (i.e. with larger natural pupils). A strong Pulfrich effect was observed under all conditions, with the effect being less striking for the 2.5 mm aperture. No neural adaptation appeared to occur: neither the interocular differences in VEP latency nor the ND value required to null the Pulfrich effect reduced over each 7-day period of anisocoric vision.


Small-aperture monovision produced marked interocular differences in visual latency and a Pulfrich experience. These were not reduced by adaptation, perhaps because the natural pupil diameter of the dominant eye was continually changing throughout the day due to varying illumination and other factors, making adaptation difficult.

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