The nasotemporal division in primate retina: the neural bases of macular sparing and splitting

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Science  01 Apr 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4848, pp. 66-67
DOI: 10.1126/science.3353708


In primates, each hemisphere contains a representation of the contralateral visual hemifield; unilateral damage to the visual pathways results in loss of vision in half of the visual field. Apparently similar severe, unilateral lesions to the central visual pathways can result in two qualitatively different central visual field defects termed macular sparing and macular splitting. In macular sparing a 2 degrees to 3 degrees region around the fovea is spared from the effects of unilateral damage to the visual pathways. In macular splitting there is no such spared region and the scotoma produced by unilateral brain damage bisects the fovea. The patterns of decussation of the different classes of retinal ganglion cells in both New World (Saimiri sciureus) and Old World (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys have been determined by horseradish peroxidase injection. In both species the distributions of ipsilaterally and contralaterally projecting ganglion cells in the central retina are different from those in other mammals and suggest neural bases for macular sparing and splitting, respectively.