Background: Visual mental imagery or seeing with the mind’s eye is an everyday phenomenon. Visual mental imagery and visual perception share common neural networks. Hence deficits that affect the visual perception may also affect visual mental imagery. Aim: We aimed to study the effect of refractive blur on the vividness of mental imagery. Methods: Subjects were recruited from volunteers and divided into two groups; individuals with refractive errors Ametropes(AM), and individuals without refractive errors Emmetropes(EM). After filling in the Verbalizer-Visualizer-Questionnaire (VVQ), the subjects were asked to perform a mental imagery task with and without refractive blur. The participants were asked to generate a mental image of a specific object initially with eyes closed, eyes open and then with refractive blur in random order, and then judge the vividness of the mental image on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (low vividness) to 5 (good vividness). The EM participants had to wear a + 2D spectacles to produce refractive blur. Results: A total of 162 participants were recruited to the study. Of these 73 were EM and 89 were AM. Of the AM, 30 had additional astigmatism. The mean VVQ score was 64.9(11.2). The mean refractive error was 1.8(1.3)D. Following the mental imagery task, at baseline with eyes closed, 138 (85.5%)subjects had vivid mental imagery close to visual perception(Likert scale:5). With the opening of the eyes, the vividness dropped by at least 1 point in the Likert scale in 139(85.8%). With the introduction of refractive blur, 153(94.4%) subjects had a drop in the vividness of the image by at least 1 point and 22(13.6%) subjects by at least 2 points. Conclusion: Introduction of refractory blur results in the reduction of the vividness of mental imagery.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience