Interocular alignment was assessed by corneal light reflex photography in 15 normal and 26 strabismic kittens. Strabismus was induced at 3–4 weeks of age by severing one extraocular muscle (tenotomy), by cutting and reinserting the muscle at another position on the ocular globe (recession), or by combining recession of the medial rectus muscle with resection of the lateral rectus muscle of the same eye. Nineteen strabismic and five normal kittens were followed longitudinally from 12 days to about 6 months of age.
Three out of the six longitudinally followed tenotomized cats and six out of the 13 recessed cats conserved their postoperative ocular deviation throughout the testing period (“large-angle strabismics”). Three tenotomized and seven recessed cats showed a transient deviation for 1–2 weeks after surgery, after which the interocular deviation diminished to values found in normal cats (“microstrabismic” cats). Both recessed-resected cats showed a transient interocular deviation.
In spite of their different developmental histories, all cats showed a clear breakdown of binocularity in area 17. Large-angle strabismics showed a dominance of the non-operated eye, while in microstrabismic cats, both eyes were equally effective in driving cortical cells. It thus appears that a transient strabismus is sufficient to produce a reduction of binocularity in area 17.