Reading performance and central field loss

Hippokratia 2011; 15 (2): 103-108

E. Kanonidou


Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of blindness in Europe and the U.S. and a leading cause of significant loss of visual acuity in elderly patients. Reading is a key visual task in everyday living involving a synthesis of a number of different motor, sensory and cognitive functions. When the centre of a reader???s visual field is obscured, reading speed declines and oculomotor pattern differs, compared to normal reading. Improvement in the generation of visual stimuli using computer-generated images and projection/display systems as well as advances in eye movement recording techniques, including infrared pupil tracking and magnetic search coils, have contributed greatly to our understanding of these sensorimotor abnormalities. The developed reading strategies have been thoroughly investigated in individuals with central field loss either induced artificially or related to eye pathology.The following review aims at presenting the contemporary literature regarding the sensory and oculomotor deficits in reading ability, resulting from central field loss and should contribute to a greater understanding of the functional visual deficit caused by this visual impairment.