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Depression doesn't make brown eyes blue, but it can change visual perception, according to Tel Aviv University researchers. A team headed by Dr. Uri Polat of TAU's Goldschleger Eye Institute compared the visual perception of healthy people to those hospitalized for depression. The clinically depressed lacked the ability to fill in parts of a picture when those parts were missing or faint.
"Vision is processed in the brain, and we already know that depression affects cognitive functioning," says Polat. The new results linking depression to eyesight could result in a new tool to accurately diagnose depression."
To investigate the effects of depression on visual perception, he developed a test that let him assess "the filling-in process" that a healthy mind performs when looking at objects. The researchers asked 27 control subjects and 32 patients hospitalized for depression to look at identical images and report what they saw. The control subjects were able to "see" missing parts, while the depressed ones were not.
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