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Fernando Vargas-Martín, Eli Peli; Eye Movements of Patients with Tunnel Vision While Walking. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(12):5295-5302. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.05-1043.
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purpose. To determine how severe peripheral field loss (PFL) affects the dispersion of eye movements relative to the head in patients walking in real environments. This information should help to define the visual field and clearance requirements for head-mounted mobility visual aids.
methods. Eye positions relative to the head were recorded in five patients with retinitis pigmentosa who had less than 15° of visual field and in three normally sighted people, each walking in varied environments for more than 30 minutes. The eye-position recorder was made portable by modifying a head-mounted system (ISCAN, Burlington, MA). Custom data processing was implemented, to reject unreliable data. Sample standard deviations of eye position (dispersion) were compared across subject groups and environments.
results. The patients with PFL exhibited narrower horizontal eye-position dispersions than did the normally sighted subjects (9.4° vs. 14.2°, P < 0.0001), and the vertical dispersions of patients with PFL were smaller when they were walking indoors than when walking outdoors (8.2° vs. 10.3°; P = 0.048).
conclusions. When walking, the patients with PFL did not increase their scanning eye movements to compensate for missing peripheral vision information. Their horizontal scanning was actually reduced, possibly because of lack of peripheral stimulation. The results suggest that a field of view as wide as 40° may be needed for closed (immersive) head-mounted mobility aids, whereas a much narrower display, perhaps as narrow as 20°, may be sufficient with an open design.
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