Blindsight and Unconscious Vision: What They Teach Us about the Human Visual System

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Damage to the primary visual cortex removes the major input from the eyes to the brain, causing significant visual loss as patients are unable to perceive the side of the world contralateral to the damage. Some patients, however, retain the ability to detect visual information within this blind region; this is known as blindsight. By studying the visual pathways that underlie this residual vision in patients, we can uncover additional aspects of the human visual system that likely contribute to normal visual function but cannot be revealed under physiological conditions. In this review, we discuss the residual abilities and neural activity that have been described in blindsight and the implications of these findings for understanding the intact system.

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