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Muriel Boucart, Celine Delerue, Miguel Thibaut, Sebastien Szaffarczyk, Mary Hayhoe, Thi Ha Chau Tran; Impact of Wet Macular Degeneration on the Execution of Natural Actions. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(11):6832-6838. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-16758.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To use eye movements to investigate how people with a central scotoma might be impaired in the execution of natural actions and whether task familiarity affects performance.
Sixteen participants with AMD and 16 age-matched controls performed two natural actions: (1) a familiar sandwich-making task and (2) a less familiar model-building task. In each action, task-relevant and task-irrelevant objects were placed on a table, covering 90°. The participants were asked to execute the actions without a time constraint. Eye movements were recorded.
The people with AMD were significantly slower than the controls, both in the exploration phase (before the first reaching movement) and in the working phase (execution of action), especially in the unfamiliar task. Gaze duration was longer on relevant than irrelevant objects in both groups and tasks, as might be expected. However, for the participants with AMD, gaze durations were longer on all of the objects, whether relevant or irrelevant, except in the more familiar task. This suggests that participants with AMD take longer to extract the information they need but that this can be counteracted when the task items are familiar. The number of saccades/min of the task was significantly greater for the people with AMD than for the controls.
The present results show that people with AMD can accomplish natural actions efficiently, but need longer gaze durations and more eye movements than normally sighted people. This effect can be reduced when executing a familiar task.
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