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Friday, September 4, 2015

Your Blind Spot

Everyone Has A Blind Spot, New Research Suggests It Could Be Reduced With Training

Sarah Berger | August 31, 2015

Every human eye has a blind spot, and a study suggests there is a way to train the human eye to reduce the size of that blind spot, the New York Times reported Monday. The training procedure discovered by researchers could eventually be used to treat people with age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world, said Paul Miller, a psychologist at the University of Queensland in Australia and an author of the study.  

<more at; related links: (Reducing the size of the human physiological blind spot through training. Paul A. Miller, Guy Wallis, Peter J. Bex, Derek H. Arnold. DOI: August 31, 2015. [SummaryThe physiological blind spot refers to a zone of functional blindness all normally sighted people have in each eye, due to an absence of photoreceptors where the optic nerve passes through the surface of the retina. Here we report that the functional size of the physiological blind spot can be shrunk through training to distinguish direction signals at the blind spot periphery. Training on twenty successive weekdays improved sensitivity to both direction and colour, suggesting a generalizable benefit. Training on one blind spot, however, did not transfer to the blind spot in the untrained eye, ruling out mediation via a generic practice effect; nor could training benefits be attributed to eye movements, which were monitored to ensure stable fixation. These data suggest that training enhances the response gains of neurons with receptive fields that partially overlap, or abut, the physiological blind spot, thereby enhancing sensitivity to weak signals originating primarily from within the functionally-defined region of blindness [1–3] . Our results have important implications for situations where localised blindness has been acquired through damage to components of the visual system [4,5] , and support proposals that these situations might be improved through perceptual training [5–7] .])>

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