Neural circuits for binocular vision: Ocular dominance, interocular matching, and disparity selectivity


The brain creates a single visual percept of the world with inputs from two eyes. This means that downstream structures must integrate information from the two eyes coherently. Not only does the brain meet this challenge effortlessly, it also uses small differences between the two eyes’ inputs, i.e., binocular disparity, to construct depth information in a perceptual process called stereopsis. Recent studies have advanced our understanding of the neural circuits underlying stereoscopic vision and its development. Here, we review these advances in the context of three binocular properties that have been most commonly studied for visual cortical neurons: ocular dominance of response magnitude, interocular matching of orientation preference, and response selectivity for binocular disparity. By focusing mostly on mouse studies, as well as recent studies using ferrets and tree shrews, we highlight unresolved controversies and significant knowledge gaps regarding the neural circuits underlying binocular vision. We note that in most ocular dominance studies, only monocular stimulations are used, which could lead to a mischaracterization of binocularity. On the other hand, much remains unknown regarding the circuit basis of interocular matching and disparity selectivity and its development. We conclude by outlining opportunities for future studies on the neural circuits and functional development of binocular integration in the early visual system.

Last updated on 02/15/2023