Aim: To review imaging techniques available for examining cortical responses to visual stimuli, with a view to selecting an objective method suitable for measuring amblyopia in children.
Methods: A literature review was carried out to explore current and developing methods of imagine visual cortical stimulation, concentrating more specifically on amblyopia research.
Results: Visually evoked potentials (VEP), magnetoencephalography (MEG), positron emission tomography (Phi), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and functional magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI) have all been found to detect amblyopia to some degree. Functional MRI stands out as the most suitable method for detecting amblyopia, and is capable of producing images at the level or the ocular dominance columns with no adverse effects.
Conclusion: New avenues of investigating amblyopia have recently opened and have proved to be sensitive in its detection and sometimes in measuring its extent. Further research needs to be carried out to determine the sensitivity in detecting degrees of amblyopia and the practicalities of testing children. In the future these methods may allow us to understand amblyopia more fully and to progress further with treatment methods.