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Poggel, Dorothe A.; Treutwein, Bernhard; Sabel, Bernhard A.; Strasburger, Hans (2015): A matter of time: improvement of visual temporal processing during training-induced restoration of light detection performance. In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6, 22


The issue of how basic sensory and temporal processing are related is still unresolved. We studied temporal processing, as assessed by simple visual reaction times (AT) and double-pulse resolution (DPR), in patients with partial vision loss after visual pathway lesions and investigated whether vision restoration training (VRT), a training program designed to improve light detection performance, would also affect temporal processing. Perimetric and campimetric visual field tests as well as maps of DPR thresholds and RI were acquired before and after a 3 months training period with VRT. Patient performance was compared to that of age matched healthy subjects. Intact visual field size increased during training. Averaged across the entire visual field, DPR remained constant while RI improved slightly. However, in transition zones between the blind and intact areas (areas of residual vision) where patients had shown between 20 and 80% of stimulus detection probability in pre-training visual field tests, both DPR and RI improved markedly. The magnitude of improvement depended on the defect depth (or degree of intactness) of the respective region at baseline. Inter-individual training outcome variability was very high, with some patients showing little change and others showing performance approaching that of healthy controls. Training-induced improvement of light detection in patients with visual field loss thus generalized to dynamic visual functions. The findings suggest that similar neural mechanisms may underlie the impairment and subsequent training-induced functional recovery of both light detection and temporal processing.