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Angélica Pérez Fornos, Jörg Sommerhalder, Benjamin Rappaz, Marco Pelizzone, Avinoam B. Safran; Processes Involved in Oculomotor Adaptation to Eccentric Reading. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(4):1439-1447. doi: 10.1167/iovs.05-0973.
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purpose. Adaptation to eccentric viewing in subjects with a central scotoma remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to analyze the adaptation stages of oculomotor control to forced eccentric reading in normal subjects.
methods. Three normal adults (25.7 ± 3.8 years of age) were trained to read full-page texts using a restricted 10° × 7° viewing window stabilized at 15° eccentricity (lower visual field). Gaze position was recorded throughout the training period (1 hour per day for approximately 6 weeks).
results. In the first sessions, eye movements appeared inappropriate for reading, mainly consisting of reflexive vertical (foveating) saccades. In early adaptation phases, both vertical saccade count and amplitude dramatically decreased. Horizontal saccade frequency increased in the first experimental sessions, then slowly decreased after 7 to 15 sessions. Amplitude of horizontal saccades increased with training. Gradually, accurate line jumps appeared, the proportion of progressive saccades increased, and the proportion of regressive saccades decreased. At the end of the learning process, eye movements mainly consisted of horizontal progressions, line jumps, and a few horizontal regressions.
conclusions. Two main adaptation phases were distinguished: a “faster” vertical process aimed at suppressing reflexive foveation and a “slower” restructuring of the horizontal eye movement pattern. The vertical phase consisted of a rapid reduction in the number of vertical saccades and a rapid but more progressive adjustment of remaining vertical saccades. The horizontal phase involved the amplitude adjustment of horizontal saccades (mainly progressions) to the text presented and the reduction of regressions required.
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