Perspective on Vision Science-Informed Interventions for Central Vision Loss

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Pathologies affecting central vision, and macular degeneration (MD) in particular, represent a growing health concern worldwide, and the leading cause of blindness in the Western World. To cope with the loss of central vision, MD patients often develop compensatory strategies, such as the adoption of a Preferred Retinal Locus (PRL), which they use as a substitute fovea. However, visual acuity and fixation stability in the visual periphery are poorer, leaving many MD patients struggling with tasks such as reading and recognizing faces. Current non-invasive rehabilitative interventions are usually of two types: oculomotor, aiming at training eye movements or teaching patients to use or develop a PRL, or perceptual, with the goal of improving visual abilities in the PRL. These training protocols are usually tested over a series of outcome assessments mainly measuring low-level visual abilities (visual acuity, contrast sensitivity) and reading. However, extant approaches lead to mixed success, and in general have exhibited large individual differences. Recent breakthroughs in vision science have shown that loss of central vision affects not only low-level visual abilities and oculomotor mechanisms, but also higher-level attentional and cognitive processes. We suggest that effective interventions for rehabilitation after central vision loss should then not only integrate low-level vision and oculomotor training, but also take into account higher level attentional and cognitive mechanisms.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Maniglia M; Visscher KM; Seitz AR
  • Volume

  • 15