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Michael Bach, Michaela Wilke, Barbara Wilhelm, Eberhart Zrenner, Robert Wilke; Basic Quantitative Assessment of Visual Performance in Patients with Very Low Vision. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(2):1255-1260. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.09-3512.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A variety of approaches to developing visual prostheses are being pursued: subretinal, epiretinal, via the optic nerve, or via the visual cortex. This report presents a method of comparing their efficacy at genuinely improving visual function, starting at no light perception (NLP).
A test battery (a computer program, Basic Assessment of Light and Motion [BaLM]) was developed in four basic visual dimensions: (1) light perception (light/no light), with an unstructured large-field stimulus; (2) temporal resolution, with single versus double flash discrimination; (3) localization of light, where a wedge extends from the center into four possible directions; and (4) motion, with a coarse pattern moving in one of four directions. Two- or four-alternative, forced-choice paradigms were used. The participants' responses were self-paced and delivered with a keypad.
The feasibility of the BaLM was tested in 73 eyes of 51 patients with low vision. The light and time test modules discriminated between NLP and light perception (LP). The localization and motion modules showed no significant response for NLP but discriminated between LP and hand movement (HM). All four modules reached their ceilings in the acuity categories higher than HM.
BaLM results systematically differed between the very-low-acuity categories NLP, LP, and HM. Light and time yielded similar results, as did localization and motion; still, for assessing the visual prostheses with differing temporal characteristics, they are not redundant. The results suggest that this simple test battery provides a quantitative assessment of visual function in the very-low-vision range from NLP to HM.
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