Binocular stereo acuity affects monocular three-dimensional shape perception in patients with strabismus

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Abstract

Background/aims

To evaluate the perception of three-dimensional (3D) shape in patients with strabismus and the contributions of stereopsis and monocular cues to this perception.

Methods

Twenty-one patients with strabismus with and 20 without stereo acuity as well as 25 age-matched normal volunteers performed two tasks: (1) identifying the closest vertices of 3D shapes from monocular shading (3D-SfS), texture (3D-SfT) or motion cues (3D-SfM) and from binocular disparity (3D-SfD), (2) discriminating 1D elementary features of these cues.

Results

Discrimination of the elementary features of luminance, texture and motion did not differ across groups. When the distances between reported and actual closest vertices were resolved into sagittal and frontoparallel plane components, sagittal components in 3D-SfS and frontoparallel components in 3D-SfT indicated larger errors in patients with strabismus without stereo acuity than in normal subjects. These patients could not discriminate one-dimensional elementary features of binocular disparity. Patients with strabismus with stereo acuity performed worse for both components of 3D-SfD and frontoparallel components of 3D-SfT compared with normal subjects. No differences were observed in the perception of 3D-SfM across groups. A comparison between normal subjects and patients with strabismus with normal stereopsis revealed no deficit in 3D shape perception from any cue.

Conclusions

Binocular stereopsis is essential for fine perception of 3D shape, even when 3D shape is defined by monocular static cues. Interaction between these cues may occur in ventral occipitotemporal regions, where 3D-SfS, 3D-SfT and 3D-SfD are processed in the same or neighbouring cortical regions. Our findings demonstrate the perceptual benefit of binocular stereopsis in patients with strabismus.

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