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Anna Sterkin, Oren Yehezkel, Maria Lev, Ravid Doron, Moshe Fried, Yuval Levy, Liora Levian, Reuven Pokroy, Barak Gordon, Uri Polat; Perceptual learning improves near vision in pilots with eye aging. . Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1173. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.1173.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Background: Presbyopia is a process in which uncorrected near visual acuity results in blurred images, progressing with age starting around the age of 45. Our earlier studies have shown significant improvement in near visual acuity (VA) in presbyopes following training protocol based on perceptual learning, with persistence of up to 6.2 years and effectiveness in improving distance VA in young with consequent improvement in higher visual functions, such as reading. Our hypothesis is that both improvements in contrast sensitivity and processing speed underlie the observed gains in visual functions. Israeli Air Force pilots continue flying combat missions past the age of onset of presbyopia. Any optical correction for presbyopia limits their flying capabilities. Therefore, there is an operational need for delaying the onset of presbyopia or improving their near VA in order to avoid the use of optical corrections. Aim: Here we aimed to 1) test whether the temporal processing of pilots that is commonly assumed superior compared to age-matched controls, leads to advantage in visual functions and 2) improve pilots' near VA using our perceptual learning method. Methods: 30 pilots with both early and advanced presbyopia completed a training protocol for presbyopia (GlassesOff mobile application for iOS devices), consisting of a 12-15 minute session, 3 times a week for 3 months. Results: 1) pilots showed a significant advantage in processing speed measurements compared to controls. 2) Despite this initial advantage, pilots showed significant improvement following the training protocol in several basic visual functions, such as contrast sensitivity, contrast discrimination and temporal processing. These training gains were also reflected in higher visual functions, such as reading and low-contrast aerial photography interpretation. Conclusions: Training protocol for presbyopia is effective for overcoming the blurred vision in presbyopic pilots, despite their initial temporal processing advantage compared to controls, with real operational benefits.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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