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Mehmet N. Ağaoğlu, Wai Fung, Susana T. L. Chung; Oculomotor responses of the visual system to an artificial central scotoma may not represent genuine visuomotor adaptation. Journal of Vision 2022;22(10):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.10.17.
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Patients with central vision loss often adopt a location outside their scotoma as the new reference for vision, the preferred retinal locus (PRL). The development of a PRL is important not only for the rehabilitation of patients with central vision loss, but also helps us better understand how the brain adapts to the lack of visual input. Many investigators studied this question using a gaze-contingent display paradigm by imposing an artificial scotoma to simulate central vision loss for normally sighted subjects, with an important assumption that the “PRL” thus developed is the result of visuomotor adaptation, as is the case for people with a real scotoma. In this study, we tested the validity of this assumption. We used a gaze-contingent display combined with an artificial scotoma to first train normally sighted subjects to develop a “PRL” for saccade eye movements. Then, we compared the properties of saccades when the artificial scotoma was randomly turned off or on. When the artificial scotoma was absent, subjects automatically reverted to using their fovea, with a shorter saccade latency. Our findings suggest that the development of a “PRL” in response to an artificial scotoma may represent a strategy, instead of a genuine visuomotor adaptation.
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