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Peter E. Pidcoe, Paul A. Wetzel; Oculomotor Tracking Strategy in Normal Subjects with and without Simulated Scotoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(1):169-178. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0564.
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purpose. Experiments were conducted on five subjects with no visual impairment to assess tracking strategy differences in subjects with and without a simulated central scotoma.
methods. Subjects were asked to visually track horizontally moving periodic and nonperiodic sinusoidal stimuli through a ±5° range. Scotoma simulation was achieved electronically with a closed-loop feedback system using horizontal eye movement measurements from a monocular limbus eye tracker updated at a rate of 500 Hz. The scotoma was centrally located and had defined horizontal half widths of 1, 2, and 3°. Vertical eye position measurements from a video-based dark-pupil tracker were used to identify and remove trials in which extreme vertical eye position deviations reduced the effectiveness of the simulation.
results. All subjects developed a preferred retinal locus (PRL) in the left visual field and demonstrated a tendency for saccadic redirection to this area. Saccadic endpoints into the PRL outnumbered foveally directed saccades by a factor of 2:1. The PRL was located outside the compromised central vision region, typically near the edge of the scotoma boundary, for all subjects except one. This subject had a PRL within the simulated scotoma under two conditions, but the percentage of total time spent at the “compromised” PRL was less than for other subjects.
conclusions. Subjects with no visual impairment confronted with a central scotoma develop a preferred retinal locus to replace the nonfunctional fovea and appear to suppress normal refoveating saccadic behavior in favor of this location.
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