Behavioral assessment of visual acuity in mice and rats

Vision Res. 2000;40(16):2201-9. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(00)00081-x.


We have developed a simple computer-based discrimination task that enables the quick determination of visual acuities in rodents. A grating is displayed randomly on one of two monitors at the wide end of a trapezoidal-shaped tank containing shallow water. Animals are trained to swim toward the screens, and at a fixed distance, choose the screen displaying the grating and escape to a submerged platform hidden below it. Both mice and rats learn the task quickly. Performance falls below 70% when the spatial frequency is increased beyond 0.5 cycles in most C57BU6 mice, and around 1.0 cycles per degree (cpd) in Long-Evans rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Psychophysics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*