Decoding visual fatigue in a visual search task selectively manipulated via myopia-correcting lenses

Hyeongsuk Ryu, Uijong Ju, Christian Wallraven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Visual fatigue resulting from sustained, high-workload visual activities can significantly impact task performance and general wellbeing. So far, however, little is known about the underlying brain networks of visual fatigue. This study aimed to identify such potential networks using a unique paradigm involving myopia-correcting lenses known to directly modulate subjectively-perceived fatigue levels. Methods: A sample of N = 31 myopia participants [right eye-SE: –3.77D (SD: 2.46); left eye-SE: –3.75D (SD: 2.45)] performed a demanding visual search task with varying difficulty levels, both with and without the lenses, while undergoing fMRI scanning. There were a total of 20 trials, after each of which participants rated the perceived difficulty and their subjective visual fatigue level. We used representational similarity analysis to decode brain regions associated with fatigue and difficulty, analyzing their individual and joint decoding pattern. Results and discussion: Behavioral results showed correlations between fatigue and difficulty ratings and above all a significant reduction in fatigue levels when wearing the lenses. Imaging results implicated the cuneus, lingual gyrus, middle occipital gyrus (MOG), and declive for joint fatigue and difficulty decoding. Parts of the lingual gyrus were able to selectively decode perceived difficulty. Importantly, a broader network of visual and higher-level association areas showed exclusive decodability of fatigue (culmen, middle temporal gyrus (MTG), parahippocampal gyrus, precentral gyrus, and precuneus). Our findings enhance our understanding of processing within the context of visual search, attention, and mental workload and for the first time demonstrate that it is possible to decode subjectively-perceived visual fatigue during a challenging task from imaging data. Furthermore, the study underscores the potential of myopia-correcting lenses in investigating and modulating fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1307688
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 Ryu, Ju and Wallraven.


  • attention
  • children
  • fMRI
  • fatigue
  • myopia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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