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A. Perez Fornos, J. Sommerhalder, M. Pelizzone; Dynamics of Visual Perception Upon Electrical Stimulation of the Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3027.
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To characterize the dynamics of visual perception in blind patients wearing an ArgusTM II retinal prosthesis (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc.; Sylmar, California).
Subjects were presented with stimulations of variable duration and pulse rate, separated by long pauses of at least 60s. Stimulation amplitude was set to the upper comfortable level. Subjects were asked to describe their perception on a ±10 luminosity scale, 10 being the brightest perception experienced in a given condition and 0 being "background" luminosity.
The graphs below show samples of luminosity perception changes versus time. At a pulse rate of 20 pps, subject 1 reported a brief, initial bright flash followed by a phase of longer duration which was darker than "background" luminosity. Subject 2 reported a stable percept that lasted for the whole duration (10 s) of the stimulation. Changing pulse rate from 20 to 60 pps drastically altered perception in subject 2, but not in subject 1. Additional results will be presented.
Electrical stimulation of the retina can elicit very different perceptions across and within subjects. Brief bright flashes can interfere with the identification of a patterned image. If we want to control and optimize the information transmitted by retinal prostheses, it is fundamental to characterize the dynamics of visual perception across different subjects and to understand how perception changes with stimulation parameters.
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