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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1989 Jan;30(1):159-70.

Adaptation to telescopic spectacles: vestibulo-ocular reflex plasticity.

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  • 1Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) is a mechanism for the production of rapid compensatory eye movements during head movements. To investigate the adaptation of this reflex to spectacle magnifiers, the effect on the VOR of a brief period of wearing telescopic spectacles during head rotation was studied in normal subjects. VOR gain, as measured in darkness, was defined to be the ratio of compensatory slow phase eye velocity to head velocity. Initial VOR gain as measured for vertical axis sinusoidal head rotation at 0.1 Hz, amplitude 60 degrees/sec, was about 0.7. After 15 min adaptation by sinusoidal rotation during the viewing of a remote video display through X2, X4, or X6 binocular telescopic spectacles, 47-70% of subjects exhibited significant VOR gain increases of 7-46%. These increases were measured with occlusion of the unmagnified visual field peripheral to the telescopes during adaptation. There was considerable interindividual variability in adaptation to telescopic spectacles. Telescopic spectacle power had little or no effect on the amount of VOR change after adaptation, although all telescope powers produced a greater VOR gain change than did adaptation without telescopes. Testing of VOR gain at multiple frequencies indicated that adaptation to telescopic spectacles by rotation at a single sinusoidal frequency induces VOR gain changes across a broad spectrum of frequencies of head rotation. When the unmagnified peripheral visual field was unobstructed during adaptation, VOR gain increases were significantly less than when the unmagnified peripheral visual field was occluded, and were similar to those observed during adaptation without the wearing of telescopic spectacles at all. VOR gain adaptation was associated with amerlioration of symptoms of oscillopsia and motion discomfort initially experienced by about 20% of subjects wearing telescopic spectacles.

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