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Manfred MacKeben, Donald C. Fletcher; Target Search and Identification Performance in Low Vision Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(10):7603-7609. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6728.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To introduce a novel approach to topographic function assessment in visual impairment that requires neither fixation nor reading.
One hundred thirty-five consecutive low vision patients with varying diagnoses and 30 control subjects of comparable median age participated. Performance was measured in a search task that required finding and identifying visual targets which appeared consecutively on a monitor in 32 locations of the central field of gaze. The task specifically discourages steady fixation and the subjects could make eye movements as needed to locate targets. Target size was always double the size threshold, and no manual action was required. The best attainable reading speed at any size was routinely measured (MNread). Main outcome measure was response latency necessary to solve the task. Data were median latencies and sums of all latencies.
Measurements yielded a wide variety of performance levels, with a factor of 14 to 16 between best and worst performers. The highest correlation existed between median response latency in the search task and best attainable reading speed. Only a weak correlation was found between performance and visual acuity. No statistically significant correlations were found with age or diagnosis.
The “search-and-identify” paradigm and continuous text reading share an important mechanism that determines performance in both tasks. The authors hypothesize that the factor enabling patients to perform well in both paradigms is oculomotor skill and/or eye movement strategy. Results show that the search test is a useful tool for the easy assessment of impaired vision independent of language, level of literacy, and reading habits.
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