Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Preferred retinal location' may aid rehabilitation in patients with central vision loss

Date:
May 28, 2013
Source:
Wolters Kluwer Health
Summary:
Perceptual learning techniques may provide a useful new approach to rehabilitation in patients with central vision loss -- taking advantage of visual plasticity that persists even in old age, according to a new article.

Perceptual learning techniques may provide a useful new approach to rehabilitation in patients with central vision loss -- taking advantage of visual plasticity that persists even in old age, according to a special article in the June issue of Optometry and Vision Science.

The paper by Susana T.L. Chung, OD, PhD, FAAO, 2012 recipient of the Glenn A. Fry Lecture Award, presents new research findings on plasticity of the visual system in older adults with central vision loss. Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Optometry and Vision Science, comments: "This award-winning author explored whether the new 'preferred retinal location' (PRL) in these typically older patients adopted important properties of the original fovea and hence provide evidence that even the older brain's visual cortex shows plasticity."

Evidence of 'Visual Plasticity' in Central Vision Loss…

Patients with loss of vision in the central part of the visual field face major challenges for daily living. The most common cause is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Central vision loss results from destruction of the fovea -- the central pit of the retina, where visual acuity is sharpest.

Patients with central vision loss have problems with tasks requiring detailed vision, such as reading and recognizing faces. Although magnification can help, "Alternative rehabilitation strategies need to be developed to improve the functional vision of people with central vision loss, which hopefully will lead to an improved quality of life," Dr Chung writes.

One potentially useful approach is "perceptual learning" -- improving various aspects of sensory function through repeated practice. Perceptual learning can improve vision in younger patients with amblyopia ("lazy eye"). It was previously thought that older patients, like those with AMD, no longer had enough visual plasticity to benefit from this approach.

Dr Chung's research takes advantage of the fact that people with central vision loss often adopt another location in the macula -- the so-called preferred retinal location -- to perform visual tasks. She reports a series of experiments "demonstrate[ing] the presence of plasticity in the visual system after bilateral central vision loss, especially at and around the PRL."

…May Lead to New Rehab Strategies in Central Vision Loss

These results show that "The visual system for these individuals is still plastic and can be modified through experiences," Dr Chung writes. She tested this hypothesis in a preliminary study of six older adults with central vision loss. In these patients, perceptual learning techniques targeting the PRL led to an average 50 percent increase in reading speed.

However, perceptual learning can't improve visual acuity -- patients still needed large-print books or magnification to see print. In addition, they would likely need continued practice in order to retain the improvement in reading speed. Dr Chung concludes, "The presence of this experience-dependent plasticity offers us an exciting opportunity to adopt perceptual learning as an alternative rehabilitative strategy for improving visual functions for people with central vision loss."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wolters Kluwer Health. "'Preferred retinal location' may aid rehabilitation in patients with central vision loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528100135.htm>.
Wolters Kluwer Health. (2013, May 28). 'Preferred retinal location' may aid rehabilitation in patients with central vision loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528100135.htm
Wolters Kluwer Health. "'Preferred retinal location' may aid rehabilitation in patients with central vision loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528100135.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins