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December 1997

An Introduction to the Biology of Vision

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(12):1608. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100160778033

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Anyone who has attended a meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has probably felt overwhelmed by the explosion of knowledge in the visual neurosciences. The pace of things began to accelerate some time in the early 1960s, when Hubel and Weisel began to unravel the neuronal events that encode complex visual stimuli. This was the beginning of our understanding of parallel processing in the visual system—the concept that various characteristics of visual stimuli, including shape, size, orientation, and color, are extracted by independent neural pathways and recombined at a higher level. It was also the beginning of our understanding of plasticity in the developing visual system, and of the effects of visual deprivation. The breadth and depth of knowledge in these new areas is now so great that it is difficult for a newcomer to know where to start. Many clinical texts unfortunately only impart

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