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Francisco M. Costela, Stephanie M. Reeves, Russell L. Woods; Orientation of the preferred retinal locus (PRL) is maintained following changes in simulated scotoma size. Journal of Vision 2020;20(7):25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.7.25.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Although macular lesions often enlarge, we know little about what happens when the preferred retinal locus (PRL) is enveloped by the lesion. We present a prospective study of subjects with normal vision who were trained to develop a PRL using simulated scotomas with a gaze-contingent visual display. We hypothesized that, when subjects had developed a robust PRL and the scotoma size was increased, the PRL would move to remain outside the scotoma and in a direction that maintained the orientation (theta) of the PRL relative to the fovea.
Nine subjects with normal vision were trained to develop a PRL and were then exposed to scotoma sizes that ranged from 4° to 24° in diameter. Subjects tracked a stimulus using saccades or smooth pursuits. Fixation stability was measured by calculating the bivariate contour ellipse area (BCEA). To measure the reassignment of the oculomotor reference (OMR) to the PRL, we analyzed the spread (BCEA) of saccade first landing points.
All subjects developed a robust PRL that did not vary more than 0.8° on average between blocks of trials of a scotoma size, and they maintained the orientation of the PRL as the simulated scotoma size varied (±9° median standard deviation in theta, defined as orientation angle). Fixation stability and OMR to the PRL worsened (larger BCEA) with increasing scotoma size. This, and related studies, could guide development of a PRL training method to help people with central vision loss.
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