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Aaron Seitz, Marcello Maniglia, Kristina Visscher; We don't all look the same; detailed examination of peripheral looking strategies after simulated central vision loss. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1794. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1794.
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Loss of central vision can be compensated by increased use of peripheral vision, for example patients with macular degeneration, or those experiencing simulated central vision loss, develop eccentric viewing strategies for reading or other visual tasks. In both patients and in simulated conditions there are substantial individual variations in effective use of periphery after central vision loss. Factors driving these individual differences are still unclear, and the field has not yet well-characterized these complex eye movement patterns. We recently proposed a systematic approach to characterize eye movement strategies in cases of central vision loss that distinguishes different oculomotor components, describing 6 aspects of eye movements that may change as eye movement patterns are learned: First Saccade Landing Dispersion, Saccadic Re-referencing, Saccadic Precision, Percentage of Trials that are Useful, Fixation Stability, and Latency of Target Acquisition (Maniglia, Visscher, Seitz, ECVP 2019). Here we use this approach to characterize the time-course of changes in oculomotor strategies through training in 19 healthy individuals with a gaze contingent display obstructing the central 10° of the visual field. We found improvements in re-referencing (the percentage of trials in which the first saccade placed the target outside the scotoma), and latency to target acquisition (time interval between target presentation and a saccade that would put the target outside the scotoma) over 10 days of training. This result is consistent with participants improving oculomotor strategies as a result of training. Notably, there were strong individual differences in these metrics. Here we present both the summary statistics as well as a characterization of different patterns of changes in these eye metrics, both within and across participants, and how these related to task-performance. This more complete characterization of peripheral looking strategies and how they change with training can help us understand individual differences in rehabilitation after central vision loss.
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