Sensitive period in stereopsis: random dot stereopsis after long-standing strabismus

Optom Vis Sci. 1993 Dec;70(12):1061-4. doi: 10.1097/00006324-199312000-00013.


Bifoveal fixation is a requirement for random dot stereopsis. It is believed that random dot stereopsis is not possible after treatment of long-standing strabismus because binocular cortical cells are permanently damaged when strabismus is present during the sensitive period. Although the sensitive period for amblyopia has been clearly documented, the sensitive period for stereopsis is uncertain. We present a case we have followed from age 22 months to 10 years. This patient had intermittent esotropia until approximately age 3 years 4 months; he then had constant esotropia from about age 3 years 4 months to age 9 years 7 months. After orthoptic treatment at age 9 years, the patient returned to intermittent esotropia. He subsequently developed bifoveal fixation as measured by 30 sec arc of contour stereopsis and 250 to 500 sec arc of random dot stereopsis. This patient demonstrates that bifoveal fixation can be obtained after long-standing strabismus. We suggest that the sensitive period for stereopsis development, for this patient, was from birth to age 3 years.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Amblyopia / physiopathology*
  • Amblyopia / therapy
  • Child
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Orthoptics
  • Strabismus / physiopathology*
  • Strabismus / therapy
  • Time Factors