Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Medicine


Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience

Committee Chair

Janine D. Mendola.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the technique of choice for mapping functional neuroanatomy in humans, and over the past 15 years there has been a dramatic growth in the number of studies that provide brain-behavior correlations in normal healthy adults. More recently, a few studies have begun to make such measures in healthy children. In addition, fMRI is increasingly being applied to study brain function in subjects with neurological disease. The overall aim of these studies was to apply fMRI methods to the study of amblyopia, the most prevalent developmental vision disorder. Amblyopia develops early in life, usually before 5 years old, and is most treatable during childhood. Our approach was to study both children and adults with either the strabismic or the anisometropic type of amblyopia. In our first experiment (Chapter 3), we applied fMRI techniques to map retinotopic visual organization in children. We conclude that cortical visual organization is measurable and highly mature in children aged 9 to 12 years. In our second experiment (Chapter 4), we applied similar techniques to adults with amblyopia. We conclude that visual field organization is abnormal in the brains of these adults. In our final experiment (Chapter 5), we applied these same techniques to children with amblyopia, and observed abnormalities similar to those seen in adults. These studies present a novel neurological characterization of amblyopia, and provide a basis for further studies of human visual development, in health and disease.