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Julian M. Wallace, Susana T. L. Chung, Bosco S. Tjan; Object crowding in age-related macular degeneration. Journal of Vision 2017;17(1):33. doi: 10.1167/17.1.33.
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Crowding, the phenomenon of impeded object identification due to clutter, is believed to be a key limiting factor of form vision in the peripheral visual field. The present study provides a characterization of object crowding in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) measured at the participants' respective preferred retinal loci with binocular viewing. Crowding was also measured in young and age-matched controls at the same retinal locations, using a fixation-contingent display paradigm to allow unlimited stimulus duration. With objects, the critical spacing of crowding for AMD participants was not substantially different from controls. However, baseline contrast energy thresholds in the noncrowded condition were four times that of the controls. Crowding further exacerbated deficits in contrast sensitivity to three times the normal crowding-induced contrast energy threshold elevation. These findings indicate that contrast-sensitivity deficit is a major limiting factor of object recognition for individuals with AMD, in addition to crowding. Focusing on this more tractable deficit of AMD may lead to more effective remediation and technological assistance.
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