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Maria J. Barraza-Bernal, Katharina Rifai, Siegfried Wahl; The retinal locus of fixation in simulations of progressing central scotomas. Journal of Vision 2018;18(1):7. doi: 10.1167/18.1.7.
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Patients with central scotoma use a preferred retinal locus (PRL) of fixation to perform visual tasks. Some of the conditions that cause central scotoma are progressive, and as a consequence, the PRL needs to be adjusted throughout the progression. The present study investigates the peripheral locus of fixation in subjects under a simulation of progressive central scotoma. Five normally sighted subjects participated in the study. A foveally centered mask of varying size was presented to simulate the scotoma. Initially, subjects developed a peripheral locus of fixation under simulation of a 6° scotoma, which was used as a baseline. The progression was simulated in two separate conditions: a gradual progression and an abrupt progression. In the gradual progression, the diameter of the scotoma increased by a fixed amount of either 1° or 2° of visual angle, thus scotomas of 8°, 10°, and 11° of visual angle were simulated. In the abrupt progression, the diameter was adjusted individually to span the area of the visual field used by the current peripheral locus of fixation. Subjects located the peripheral locus of fixation along the same meridian under simulation of scotoma progression. Furthermore, no differences between the fixation stability of the baseline locus of fixation and the incremental progression locus of fixation were found whereas, in abrupt progression, the fixation stability decreased significantly. These results provide first insight into fixation behavior in a progressive scotoma and may contribute to the development of training tools for patients with progressive central maculopathies.
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