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Sharavanan Ganesan, Natalia Melnik, Elena Azanon, Stefan Pollmann; A gaze-contingent saccadic re-referencing training with simulated central vision loss. Journal of Vision 2023;23(1):13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.23.1.13.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Patients with central vision loss (CVL) adopt an eccentric retinal location for fixation, a preferred retinal location (PRL), to compensate for vision loss at the fovea. Although most patients with CVL are able to rapidly use a PRL instead of the fovea, saccadic re-referencing to a PRL develops slowly. Without re-referencing, saccades land the saccade target in the scotoma. This results in corrective saccades and leads to inefficient visual exploration. Here, we tested a new method to train saccadic re-referencing. Healthy participants performed gaze-contingent visual search tasks with simulated central scotoma in which participants had to fixate targets with an experimenter-defined forced retinal location (FRL). In experiment 1, we compared single-target search and foraging search tasks in the course of five training sessions. Results showed that both tasks improved the efficiency of gaze sequences and led to saccadic re-referencing to the FRL. In experiment 2, we trained participants extensively for 25 sessions, both with and without a gaze-contingent FRL-marker visible during training. After extensive training, observers’ performance approached that of foveal vision. Thus, gaze-contingent FRL-fixation may become an efficient tool for saccadic re-referencing training in patients with central vision loss.
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