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Meesa Maeng, William H Seiple, Paul Kilbride, Charlotte Jackson, Janet P Szlyk; Validating a Self-Guided Reading-Eye-Movement Training Program. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):5170.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research has demonstrated that oculomotor control training results in increased reading speed in patients with central scotomas due to retinal disease. Typically, reading-eye-movement training takes place in clinical settings and is executed by a therapist who provides guidance and immediate performance feedback. In-home vision rehabilitation has the potential to reduce travel, and expenses for patients and allow more frequent training. This study validated the effectiveness of an interactive, self-guided eye movement training program that could be independently used in the home.
Eight subjects with central scotomas due to retinal disease participated in the 8-week study. The median age of subjects was 51 years (range, 25-94 years). Binocular visual acuity ranged from 20/80 to 20/400, and contrast sensitivity ranged from 0.56-1.88 log CS. Subjects performed eye movement training tasks once per week for one hour on a user-friendly computer platform, developed using methods from our previous research. The interface is fully accessible, consisting of large icons, touch-screen displays, speech recognition, and voice controls. The platform allows participants to self-administer training exercises by automatically selecting appropriate modules based on past training performance, executing the training exercise, and storing training data. The binocular training program advances from single- to three-letter word saccades and progressed from small saccades to larger eye movements. All subjects were trained to navigate the program and were required to demonstrate proficiency before beginning independent training. Outcome measures (MNREAD, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, microperimetry thresholds) were assessed at baseline, 1 month, and post-training.
Mean reading speed at baseline was 69.3 wpm. Reading speed increased by an average of 44.2 wpm (63.7%) after 8 weeks of self-guided eye-movement training. Improvement in reading speed was independent of age, acuity, contrast sensitivity, and reading speed at baseline (p< .05).
Consistent with our previous work, a computer platform designed for independent training of eye-movement control increased reading speed in subjects with central scotomas due to retinal disease. Our findings suggest that the platform could be effectively used for automated, in-home training.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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