March 2012
Volume 53, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   March 2012
Recognition Of Facial Emotion In Macular Degeneration Patients
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Aaron P. Johnson
    Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Heather Woods-Fry
    Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Walter Wittich
    MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Centre de recherche institut universitaire de geriatrie de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Aaron P. Johnson, None; Heather Woods-Fry, None; Walter Wittich, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NSERC
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 2012, Vol.53, 4386. doi:
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      Aaron P. Johnson, Heather Woods-Fry, Walter Wittich; Recognition Of Facial Emotion In Macular Degeneration Patients. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):4386.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a retinal disease that causes a loss of central vision, causing difficulty in reading. Beyond reading, patients often report difficulty in other daily tasks that require high acuity. Analysis of data from the Montreal barriers study (Overbury & Wittich, 2011) shows that 54% of patients have difficulty with face perception. Here we investigated performance of AMD patients in a face emotion perception task in comparison to an age-match control sample. In addition, we examined if the commonly used rehabilitation technique of magnification would improve performance in both tasks.

Methods: : The face emotion perception task required observers to indicate if a presented face was expressing an emotion, and if so, to classify the emotion as either happy or angry. Percent correct was calculated on both emotion detection and classification tasks.

Results: : Data were analyzed using independent t-test, with Glass's delta reported as an effect size measure due to the different variances of each group. In comparison to controls, we found that patients were less accurate in the emotion detection task, t(10)=10.43, p<.0001, Glass’s delta = 4.27, and the emotion classification task, t(10)=9.59, p<.0001, Glass’s delta = 3.88. Decreasing image size caused an additional decline in performance in patients, Detection t(10)= 7.84, p.05, Glass’s delta = 0.7.

Conclusions: : AMD patients perform worse than age-matched controls in emotion recognition and detection tasks. In addition, the technique of stimulus magnification used commonly to improve reading performance in AMD patients does not improve face emotion perception. Consequently, other low-vision rehabilitation strategies must be developed to improve face perception in AMD patients.

Keywords: age-related macular degeneration • face perception • aging: visual performance 

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