First Glimpses of Foveal Function
Can a new understanding of the mechanisms underlying the functional specialization of the fovea change our approach to visual disorders?
Raunak Sinha |
At a Glance
- Foveal signaling and neurophysiological function has long been poorly understood, partly because of long-standing technical challenges; patch clamp electrophysiology and transient gene expression techniques have now permitted the first detailed investigation of how the fovea functions at a cellular and circuit level
- Unexpected findings include the observation that perceptual differences in temporal sensitivity between foveal and peripheral vision originate in the first stage of visual processing i.e. phototransduction in the cone photoreceptors
- Another striking finding is that the responses of the dominant output neurons in the fovea are minimally modulated by synaptic inhibition, unlike most neural circuits
- The study has caused a re-evaluation of foveal function at the cellular and neuronal circuit level and may inform future therapeutic strategies for visual disorders
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