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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 27, Issue 3, Pages 277-283

Optic Neuritis: From Magnocellular to Cognitive Residual Dysfunction

Anne-Claire Viret,1,2 Céline Cavézian,3 Olivier Coubard,4 Vivien Vasseur,5 Noa Raz,6 Netta Levin,6 Catherine Vignal,5 Olivier Gout,2 and Sylvie Chokron1,2,7

1Unité Fonctionnelle Vision et Cognition, Fondation Ophtalmologique Rothschild, Paris, France
2Service de Neurologie, Fondation Ophtalmologique Rothschild, Paris, France
3Laboratoire Vision, Action, Cognition—EAU 01, Université Paris Descartes—Sorbonne Paris Cité, Boulogne-Billancourt, France, France
4Service d’Ophtalmologie, Fondation Ophtalmologique Rothschild, Paris, France
5The Neuropsychological Laboratory, CNS-Fed, Paris, France
6Department of Neurology, Hadassah Hebrew-University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel
7Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, UMR 8158, CNRS and Université Paris-Descartes, Paris, France

Received 22 April 2013; Accepted 22 April 2013

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Optic Neuritis (ON) has been associated to both parvocellular dysfunction and to an alteration of the magnocellular pathway. After objective visual field and acuity recovery, ON patients may complain about their vision suggesting a residual subclinical deficit. To better characterize visual abnormalities, 8 patients recovering from a first ON episode as well as 16 healthy controls performed a simple detection task and a more complex categorization task of images presented in low spatial frequencies (to target the magnocellular system) or in high spatial frequencies (to target the parvocellular system) or of non-filtered images. When completing the tasks with their (previously) pathologic eye, optic neuritis patients showed lower accuracy compared to controls or to their healthy eye for low spatial frequency images only. Conjointly, the longest reaction times were observed with the previously pathologic eye regardless the type of images and to a greater extent in the categorization task than in the detection task. Such data suggest two distinct, although associated, types of residual dysfunction in ON: a magnocellular pathway alteration and a more general (magno and parvocellular) visual dysfunction that could implicate the cognitive levels of visual processing.