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In daily life, our brains process a great deal of visual information and extract spatiotemporal features, such as shape, color, depth, velocity, and motion direction, efficiently in real-time. Therefore, normal vision not only refers to a visual acuity of 20/20, but also good performance in a variety of ...

In daily life, our brains process a great deal of visual information and extract spatiotemporal features, such as shape, color, depth, velocity, and motion direction, efficiently in real-time. Therefore, normal vision not only refers to a visual acuity of 20/20, but also good performance in a variety of sophisticated visual tasks.

Normal vision can be disrupted by many visual diseases, such as refractive error, amblyopia, strabismus, cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and visual fatigue. In most cases, disrupted visual performance cannot simply be explained by the organic pathology, and the vision loss may remain even after the disease has been clinically treated. In this Research Topic, we seek to highlight vision disorders that affect the whole visual pathway, providing not only a model for the abnormal visual system but also aid in our understanding of the visual neural system.

From the clinical perspective, understanding vision disorders is critical to the monitoring, prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of functional eye diseases. This can be accomplished with the development of new methods for quantifying a range of visual functions including contrast sensitivity, stereopsis, interocular suppression, visual fields, and ocular motor function in a more precise and time-efficient manner. For example, amblyopia is a common functional eye disease that used to be considered a passive visual loss, i.e., “lazy eye”. Recently, laboratory-based tests employing visual psychophysics paradigms and neuroimaging techniques highlight the role of active interocular suppression in amblyopia. There is also evidence that binocular visual deficits are more relevant to patients’ quality of life than reduced best-corrected visual acuity. These recent advances are critical for our understanding of amblyopia and have changed the focus of amblyopia treatments.

Due to the strong connection between vision disorders and the brain, exploiting the potential of brain plasticity to recover vision in various functional eye disorders is currently one of the hottest areas in neuroscience. Methods of recovery include visual perceptual learning, visual adaptation, light deprivation, and the assessment of techniques for inducing visual cortex neuroplasticity that combines drugs, non-invasive brain stimulation, and exercise. Exploring the frontiers of neural plasticity could greatly advance visual rehabilitation in clinics. Unlike traditional treatments that focus on the eye, such as surgery or refractive correction, the induction of neural plasticity in visual rehabilitation is non-surgical, non-invasive, and potentially long-lasting. It could be considered as a ‘neuronal correction’ that directly targets the visual deficits in different visual tasks.

Research into visual deficits and rehabilitation has enriched our knowledge of functional eye diseases. More work focusing on the visual function spectrum is needed to further our understanding of different functional eye diseases, for example, the clinical relevance of different visual deficits, the underlying neural mechanisms of vision loss, and adult visual plasticity. The aim of this Research Topic is to extend knowledge related to vision disorders by bringing together work in ophthalmology, optometry, psychology, neuroscience, and vision science. We welcome original research, review, mini-review, case report, and perspective articles related to the following areas:

• Mechanisms and models of visual deficits in functional eye diseases
• Development and applications of new treatments for vision disorders
• Mechanisms and models of visual cortex neuroplasticity in vision disorders

We encourage contributions that focus on the applications of visual psychophysics, brain imaging, or computational modeling on visual deficits in vision disorders including but not limited to amblyopia, myopia, presbyopia, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. Both clinical studies and animal models/experiments are welcome.

Keywords: Functional eye disorders, Visual functions, Visual plasticity, Visual deficits, Visual Psychophysics, Visual Rehabilitation, Neuroimaging


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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