Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The human visual system

"The sensory system that has been best looked at is the visual system. Primates are highly visual animals and it turns out that human beings probably have, in addition to the primary visual cortices, thirty or more other areas of the cortex devoted to vision. Let's think about what that's about... Here's this cortex that we thought of as higher order association cortex and now we find out that it's sensory in nature. Well, how do we get information about the world? We get it through our sensory systems and one of the things that characterizes human beings is the ability to make very fine distinctions based on input from sensory systems so that ever more elaborate behavior can occur from taking in that sensory information and having this wide variety of behaviors open to us. So the more information we get through our sensory systems and the more elaborate our cortex is for looking at that sensory information, then the more complex our behavior can be." , - 
Dr. Jeanette Norden, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the School of Medicine, and Professor of Neurosciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt University.

Another fascinating example of the fact that the visual system much more than the primary visual cortices is given in this excerpt from 'Through the Wormhole'.

"The human visual system consists at least of nine different pathways. Only one of those we are starting to understand, and the eight other ones are completely in the background." , - 
Beatrice de Gelder

However much we don't know about visual system yet, we do know how to improve it. We do know that the brain is plastic and we do know how to exploit this quality for the better in vision therapy.

Related articles:
- If Vision Therapy were an alternative treatment, what exactly would it be an alternative to?
- Analysis of strabismus and its effects, patient prognosis and success rate of vision therapy
- Book Review: Suddenly Successful: How Behavioral Optometry Helps You Overcome Learning, Health And Behavioral Problems

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