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Fiona C. Glen, David P. Crabb, Nicholas D. Smith, Robyn Burton, David F. Garway-Heath; Are Certain Eye Movement Patterns Linked To Better Face Recognition Performance In Patients With Central Glaucomatous Visual Field Loss?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):5623.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Glaucomatous patients with significant central 10° visual field (VF) defects perform worse on average at face recognition (FR) than age-similar people with healthy vision (Glen et al, ARVO 2011). However, some patients still performed well at FR despite having central defects. This study investigated whether certain eye movement patterns are associated with better FR performance in these patients.
Eye movements of 27 glaucomatous patients and 38 age-similar controls were recorded using an Eyelink 1000 [SR Research] while performing the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT). All participants had visual acuity better than 6/9, underwent visual function tests including Humphrey VFs and were in good cognitive health (Middlesex Elderly Assessment of Mental Status Test). Patients had a median (interquartile range) 24-2 mean deviation (MD) of -7.7 (-15.0 to -5.0) dB. All had significant central 10° VF defects as defined by 10-2 MD <1% normative value (all in the better eye).
In patients, there was a significant partial correlation (controlling for age) between % of correctly identified faces in the CFMT and the number of saccades made per second when they first viewed a single face (r=-0.42, p=0.04). Moreover, best FR performers also made larger saccades when deciding which face, among 3, they recognised (r=0.68, p<0.001; Fig 1). There was no significant association between FR performance and number or size of saccades in controls (r=-0.16, p=0.34 and r=-0.24, p=0.16 respectively).
Some glaucomatous patients with central 10° VF defects manifest eye movement behaviour that is related to better performance in a FR task; an association not observed in age-similar people with healthy vision. These findings could be an indicator of how some patients with likely symptomatic glaucomatous damage adapt to VF loss during visual activities.
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