Various types of visual disturbance are often observed in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. In humans, visual information is processed simultaneously via multiple parallel pathways, each of which performs multiple steps of hierarchical processing. Visual evoked and event-related magnetic fields (VEFs/ERFs) can noninvasively provide rich spatiotemporal information of visual processing in the visual pathways and visual cortex. By manipulating the visual stimulus parameters of VEFs/ERFs, we can separately explore the function of each pathway at different hierarchical levels based on the distinct physiological characteristics of each visual pathway. In this review, we first summarize current concepts of parallel visual pathways in humans and the relationship between the impairment of visual pathways and visual processing disorders. Next, we describe the clinical applications of VEFs/ERFs for several neurological and psychiatric conditions involving specific types of visual dysfunction such as visual field deficits and impairments of face, word, and motion perception. From this review, we would like to stress that VEFs/ERFs are a valuable neuroimaging modality for the evaluation of visual dysfunction in various neurological and psychiatric disorders.
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