Infants have been shown to make vergence eye movements by 1 month of age to stimulation with prisms or targets moving in depth. However, little is currently understood about the threshold sensitivity of the maturing visual system to such stimulation. In this study, 5- to 10-week-old human infants and adults viewed a target moving in depth as a triangle wave of three amplitudes (1.0, 0.5, and 0.25 meter angles). Their horizontal eye position and the refractive state of both eyes were measured simultaneously. The vergence responses of the infants and adults varied at the same frequency as the stimulus at the three tested modulation amplitudes. For a typical infant of this age, the smallest amplitude is equivalent to an interocular change of approximately 2° of retinal disparity, from nearest to farthest points. The infants' accommodation responses only modulated reliably to the largest stimulus, while adults responded to all three amplitudes. Although the accommodative system appears relatively insensitive, the sensitivity of the vergence responses suggests that subtle cues are available to drive vergence in the second month after birth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems