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Thi Ha Chau Tran, Nathalie Guyader, Anne Guerin, Pascal Despretz, Muriel Boucart; Figure Ground Discrimination in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(3):1655-1660. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6003.
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To investigate impairment in discriminating a figure from its background and to study its relation to visual acuity and lesion size in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Seventeen patients with neovascular AMD and visual acuity <20/50 were included. Seventeen age-matched healthy subjects participated as controls. Complete ophthalmologic examination was performed on all participants. The stimuli were photographs of scenes containing animals (targets) or other objects (distractors), displayed on a computer monitor screen. Performance was compared in four background conditions: the target in the natural scene; the target isolated on a white background; the target separated by a white space from a structured scene; the target separated by a white space from a nonstructured, shapeless background. Target discriminability (d′) was recorded.
Performance was lower for patients than for controls. For the patients, it was easier to detect the target when it was separated from its background (under isolated, structured, and nonstructured conditions) than it was when located in a scene. Performance was improved in patients with increasing exposure time but remained lower in controls. Correlations were found between visual acuity, lesion size, and sensitivity for patients.
Figure/ground segregation is impaired in patients with AMD. A white space surrounding an object is sufficient to improve the object's detection and to facilitate figure/ground segregation. These results may have practical applications to the rehabilitation of the environment in patients with AMD.
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