Study: The World in Eyes of People with Depression is Really "Grey"

The World in Eyes of People with Depression is Really "Grey"

The world literally fades to grey when we feel depressed, scientists have discovered.

To investigate links between mood disorders and vision, Emanuel Bubl at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and colleagues ran an electrode along one eye in each of 40 people with depression, and 40 people without. The electrodes measured activity in the nerves connecting photoreceptors to the optic nerve, but not the brain.

Participants sat in a dimly lit room and watched a black and white chequered screen which became greyer in six distinct stages, reducing the contrast between each square. Each stage was presented for 10 seconds.

The team found that electrical signals to the optic nerve were lower in people with depression. For example, when viewing the stage containing black and white squares, healthy volunteers had three times the nerve activity of those with depression, indicating that depression diminishes the ability to detect contrast. The more severe a person's depression suffered, the worse their perception of contrast.

Bubl believes that a similar technique could be used to aid diagnosis of clinical depression.

Originally Posted: Top Diagnosis