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Visual advantage in deaf adults linked to retinal changes.

Codina C, Pascalis O, Mody C, Toomey P, Rose J, Gummer L, Buckley D - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Deaf adults also showed a significantly different pattern of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) distribution compared to controls.Significant correlations between the depth of the RNFL at the inferior-nasal peripapillary retina and the corresponding far temporal and superior temporal visual field areas (sensitivity) were found.Our results show that cross-modal plasticity after early onset deafness may not be limited to the sensory cortices, noting specific retinal adaptations in early onset deaf adults which are significantly correlated with peripheral vision sensitivity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Academic Unit of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom. C.Codina@Sheffield.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The altered sensory experience of profound early onset deafness provokes sometimes large scale neural reorganisations. In particular, auditory-visual cross-modal plasticity occurs, wherein redundant auditory cortex becomes recruited to vision. However, the effect of human deafness on neural structures involved in visual processing prior to the visual cortex has never been investigated, either in humans or animals. We investigated neural changes at the retina and optic nerve head in profoundly deaf (N = 14) and hearing (N = 15) adults using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), an in-vivo light interference method of quantifying retinal micro-structure. We compared retinal changes with behavioural results from the same deaf and hearing adults, measuring sensitivity in the peripheral visual field using Goldmann perimetry. Deaf adults had significantly larger neural rim areas, within the optic nerve head in comparison to hearing controls suggesting greater retinal ganglion cell number. Deaf adults also demonstrated significantly larger visual field areas (indicating greater peripheral sensitivity) than controls. Furthermore, neural rim area was significantly correlated with visual field area in both deaf and hearing adults. Deaf adults also showed a significantly different pattern of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) distribution compared to controls. Significant correlations between the depth of the RNFL at the inferior-nasal peripapillary retina and the corresponding far temporal and superior temporal visual field areas (sensitivity) were found. Our results show that cross-modal plasticity after early onset deafness may not be limited to the sensory cortices, noting specific retinal adaptations in early onset deaf adults which are significantly correlated with peripheral vision sensitivity.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

RNFL thickness and corresponding visual field quadrant/octant area correlations for deaf and hearing participants.The x axis shows RNFL thickness in µm for deaf (blue symbols) and hearing (red symbols) for the root squared of a.) Inferior nasal quadrant and corresponding superior temporal mid-peripheral visual field quadrant area and b.) Inferior nasal octant and corresponding superior temporal mid- peripheral visual field octant area in degrees.
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pone-0020417-g005: RNFL thickness and corresponding visual field quadrant/octant area correlations for deaf and hearing participants.The x axis shows RNFL thickness in µm for deaf (blue symbols) and hearing (red symbols) for the root squared of a.) Inferior nasal quadrant and corresponding superior temporal mid-peripheral visual field quadrant area and b.) Inferior nasal octant and corresponding superior temporal mid- peripheral visual field octant area in degrees.

Mentions: The inferior nasal retinal location where deaf adults had increased RNFL compared to hearing corresponds to the superior temporal and far temporal monocular visual field [34], [48]–[53]. Therefore inferior nasal circumpapillary RNFL thickness and superior-temporal visual field area were tested for possible correlation. Figure 5a shows a scatterplot of individuals' inferior nasal quadrant RNFL thickness against superior temporal quadrant (root squared) mid-peripheral visual field area and these two measures showed significant correlation (r2 = 0.333, p = 0.012). The mean inferior octant RNFL thickness also showed significant correlation with the mid peripheral superior temporal visual field octant area (Figure 5b, r2 = 0.244, p = 0.037). Interestingly, no other correlations were significant for other circumpapillary regions where RNFL was not significantly different between deaf and hearing when tested for relationship with corresponding visual field areas (highest r2 = 0.197).


Visual advantage in deaf adults linked to retinal changes.

Codina C, Pascalis O, Mody C, Toomey P, Rose J, Gummer L, Buckley D - PLoS ONE (2011)

RNFL thickness and corresponding visual field quadrant/octant area correlations for deaf and hearing participants.The x axis shows RNFL thickness in µm for deaf (blue symbols) and hearing (red symbols) for the root squared of a.) Inferior nasal quadrant and corresponding superior temporal mid-peripheral visual field quadrant area and b.) Inferior nasal octant and corresponding superior temporal mid- peripheral visual field octant area in degrees.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105994&req=5

pone-0020417-g005: RNFL thickness and corresponding visual field quadrant/octant area correlations for deaf and hearing participants.The x axis shows RNFL thickness in µm for deaf (blue symbols) and hearing (red symbols) for the root squared of a.) Inferior nasal quadrant and corresponding superior temporal mid-peripheral visual field quadrant area and b.) Inferior nasal octant and corresponding superior temporal mid- peripheral visual field octant area in degrees.
Mentions: The inferior nasal retinal location where deaf adults had increased RNFL compared to hearing corresponds to the superior temporal and far temporal monocular visual field [34], [48]–[53]. Therefore inferior nasal circumpapillary RNFL thickness and superior-temporal visual field area were tested for possible correlation. Figure 5a shows a scatterplot of individuals' inferior nasal quadrant RNFL thickness against superior temporal quadrant (root squared) mid-peripheral visual field area and these two measures showed significant correlation (r2 = 0.333, p = 0.012). The mean inferior octant RNFL thickness also showed significant correlation with the mid peripheral superior temporal visual field octant area (Figure 5b, r2 = 0.244, p = 0.037). Interestingly, no other correlations were significant for other circumpapillary regions where RNFL was not significantly different between deaf and hearing when tested for relationship with corresponding visual field areas (highest r2 = 0.197).

Bottom Line: Deaf adults also showed a significantly different pattern of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) distribution compared to controls.Significant correlations between the depth of the RNFL at the inferior-nasal peripapillary retina and the corresponding far temporal and superior temporal visual field areas (sensitivity) were found.Our results show that cross-modal plasticity after early onset deafness may not be limited to the sensory cortices, noting specific retinal adaptations in early onset deaf adults which are significantly correlated with peripheral vision sensitivity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Academic Unit of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom. C.Codina@Sheffield.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The altered sensory experience of profound early onset deafness provokes sometimes large scale neural reorganisations. In particular, auditory-visual cross-modal plasticity occurs, wherein redundant auditory cortex becomes recruited to vision. However, the effect of human deafness on neural structures involved in visual processing prior to the visual cortex has never been investigated, either in humans or animals. We investigated neural changes at the retina and optic nerve head in profoundly deaf (N = 14) and hearing (N = 15) adults using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), an in-vivo light interference method of quantifying retinal micro-structure. We compared retinal changes with behavioural results from the same deaf and hearing adults, measuring sensitivity in the peripheral visual field using Goldmann perimetry. Deaf adults had significantly larger neural rim areas, within the optic nerve head in comparison to hearing controls suggesting greater retinal ganglion cell number. Deaf adults also demonstrated significantly larger visual field areas (indicating greater peripheral sensitivity) than controls. Furthermore, neural rim area was significantly correlated with visual field area in both deaf and hearing adults. Deaf adults also showed a significantly different pattern of retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) distribution compared to controls. Significant correlations between the depth of the RNFL at the inferior-nasal peripapillary retina and the corresponding far temporal and superior temporal visual field areas (sensitivity) were found. Our results show that cross-modal plasticity after early onset deafness may not be limited to the sensory cortices, noting specific retinal adaptations in early onset deaf adults which are significantly correlated with peripheral vision sensitivity.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus