Chromatic and achromatic monocular deprivation produce separable changes of eye dominance in adults

Proc Biol Sci. 2017 Nov 29;284(1867):20171669. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1669.


Temporarily depriving one eye of its input, in whole or in part, results in a transient shift in eye dominance in human adults, with the patched eye becoming stronger and the unpatched eye weaker. However, little is known about the role of colour contrast in these behavioural changes. Here, we first show that the changes in eye dominance and contrast sensitivity induced by monocular eye patching affect colour and achromatic contrast sensitivity equally. We next use dichoptic movies, customized and filtered to stimulate the two eyes differentially. We show that a strong imbalance in achromatic contrast between the eyes, with no colour content, also produces similar, unselective shifts in eye dominance for both colour and achromatic contrast sensitivity. Interestingly, if this achromatic imbalance is paired with similar colour contrast in both eyes, the shift in eye dominance is selective, affecting achromatic but not chromatic contrast sensitivity and revealing a dissociation in eye dominance for colour and achromatic image content. On the other hand, a strong imbalance in chromatic contrast between the eyes, with no achromatic content, produces small, unselective changes in eye dominance, but if paired with similar achromatic contrast in both eyes, no changes occur. We conclude that perceptual changes in eye dominance are strongly driven by interocular imbalances in achromatic contrast, with colour contrast having a significant counter balancing effect. In the short term, eyes can have different dominances for achromatic and chromatic contrast, suggesting separate pathways at the site of these neuroplastic changes.

Keywords: colour vision; sensory eye dominance; short-term deprivation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Dominance, Ocular*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Young Adult