September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Changes in Extrastriate Cortical Thickness Caused by Macular Degeneration
Author Affiliations
  • Matthew Defenderfer
    Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Leland Fleming
    Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Kristina Visscher
    Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 767. doi:
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      Matthew Defenderfer, Leland Fleming, Kristina Visscher; Changes in Extrastriate Cortical Thickness Caused by Macular Degeneration. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):767.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Macular degeneration causes loss of central vision while leaving peripheral vision relatively spared. This loss of central vision affects a person's daily life, impairing the ability to perform many tasks associated with central vision such as fine detail discrimination and reading. Some people with macular degeneration, especially those with age-related macular degeneration, may experience decreased engagement in tasks of daily living due to vision impairment, and therefore may make generally less use of cortical areas associated with higher level vision. Loss of central vision has been shown to influence cortical thickness in primary visual cortex (Burge et al. 2016), so that areas representing parts of peripheral vision that are used more after macular degeneration onset are thicker and areas representing central vision that is lost after macular degeneration onset are thinner compared to age-matched controls. How does macular degeneration influence cortical thickness in brain areas associated with higher order vision. In this experiment, we focused on area MT/V5, which is associated with processing moving objects, fusiform face area, associated with processing faces, and brain regions within the frontoparietal and cingulo-opercular networks, associated with cognitive control of vision (Yeo, et al., 2011). Cortical thickness in these regions was examined in a database of 24 people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and 23 matched healthy vision controls. AMD participants had significantly thinner cortex in MT, consistent with decreased use of vision for detecting motion in those participants. No significant effects were observed in the other regions we examined. These data provide evidence that some higher-level visual processing regions are atrophied following the loss of central vision.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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