Perceptual filling-in at the scotoma following a monocular retinal lesion in the monkey

Vis Neurosci. Jan-Feb 1997;14(1):89-101. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800008798.


Although no visual inputs arise from the blind spot, the same visual attribute there as in the visual field surrounding the blind spot is perceived. Because of this remarkable "perceptual filling-in," a hole corresponding to the blind spot is not perceived, even when one eye is closed. Does the same phenomenon occur in the case of a scotoma in which visual inputs are lost postnatally due to a retinal lesion? We report that it did: in the macaque monkey, behavioral evidence for filling-in at a scotoma produced by a laser-induced monocular retinal lesion was obtained. The visual receptive fields of neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) in and around the representation of the visual field corresponding to the scotoma were also mapped, and no clear difference between the retinotopic organization of this part in V1 and that found in the normal visual field was found. Also, perceptual filling-in was found to occur only two days after the lesion. These findings suggest that the normal visual system possesses a mechanism that yields filling-in when some part of the retina is damaged, and that such a mechanism requires no topographical reorganization in V1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Laser Therapy
  • Macaca
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / physiopathology*
  • Retina / surgery
  • Scotoma / etiology
  • Scotoma / pathology
  • Scotoma / physiopathology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*