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Visual Search Behavior in Individuals With Retinitis Pigmentosa During Level Walking and Obstacle Crossing

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posted on 2023-07-26, 14:11 authored by Matthew A. Timmis, Jonathan E. Allsop, Mohammad Ahoora Baranian, James Baker, Itay Basevitch, Keziah Latham, Shahina Pardhan, Kjell N. van Paridon
Purpose: Investigate the visual search strategy of individuals with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) when negotiating a floor-based obstacle compared with level walking, and compared with those with normal vision. Methods: Wearing a mobile eye tracker, individuals with RP and normal vision walked along a level walkway or walked along the walkway negotiating a floor-based obstacle. In the level walking condition, tape was placed on the floor to act as an object attracting visual attention. Analysis compared where individuals looked within the environment. Results: In the obstacle compared with level walking condition: (1) the RP group reduced the length of time and the number of times they looked Ahead, and increased the time and how often they looked at features on the ground (Object and Down, P < 0.05); and (2) the visual normal group reduced the time (by 19%) they looked Ahead (P = 0.076), and increased the time and how often they looked at the Object (P < 0.05). Compared with the normal vision group, in both level walking and obstacle conditions, the RP group reduced the time looking Ahead and looked for longer and more often Down (P < 0.05). Conclusions: The RP group demonstrated a more active visual search pattern, looking at more areas on the ground in both level walking and obstacle crossing compared with visual normals. This gaze strategy was invariant across conditions. This is most likely due to the constricted visual field and inability to rely on inferior peripheral vision to acquire information from the floor within the environment when walking.



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Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science





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ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)

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