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Rong Liu, MiYoung Kwon; Integrating oculomotor and perceptual training to induce a pseudofovea: A model system for studying central vision loss. Journal of Vision 2016;16(6):10. doi: 10.1167/16.6.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
People with a central scotoma often adopt an eccentric retinal location (Preferred Retinal Locus, PRL) for fixation. Here, we proposed a novel training paradigm as a model system to study the nature of the PRL formation and its impacts on visual function. The training paradigm was designed to effectively induce a PRL at any intended retinal location by integrating oculomotor control and pattern recognition. Using a gaze-contingent display, a simulated central scotoma was induced in eight normally sighted subjects. A subject's entire peripheral visual field was blurred, except for a small circular aperture with location randomly assigned to each subject (to the left, right, above, or below the scotoma). Under this viewing condition, subjects performed a demanding oculomotor and visual recognition task. Various visual functions were tested before and after training at both PRL and nonPRL locations. After 6–10 hr of the training, all subjects formed their PRL within the clear window. Both oculomotor control and visual recognition performance significantly improved. Moreover, there was considerable improvement at PRL location in high-level function, such as trigram letter-recognition, reading, and spatial attention, but not in low-level function, such as acuity and contrast sensitivity. Our results demonstrated that within a relatively short time, a PRL could be induced at any intended retinal location in normally-sighted subjects with a simulated scotoma. Our training paradigm might not only hold promise as a model system to study the dynamic nature of the PRL formation, but also serve as a rehabilitation regimen for individuals with central vision loss.
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