SKERI Scientist Receives 5-Year Grant to Study Eye Movements in Macular Degeneration

Logo of the Eye-Head Lab above a picture of Natela Shanidze testing a participant

Congratulations to Dr. Natela Shanidze for receiving a five-year NEI Research (R01) Grant on Oculomotor Demands for Target Stabilization without Central Vision

Central visual field loss due to age-related macular degeneration is highly prevalent, debilitating, and can lead to accidents and injury. The individuals’ decreased visual acuity and inability to correctly make compensatory eye movements and exploratory gaze shifts can make performing daily tasks such as navigating a crowded street very difficult and even dangerous. This project will allow Natela to delve deeper into questions she began to ask during her postdoctoral training here at SKERI about how individuals with central vision loss (for example due to macular degeneration) move their eyes to stabilize images on the retina during eye, head, and object motion. Specifically, she will investigate how loss of central vision affects individuals’ ability to look between objects in depth, stabilize objects on the retina during linear motion (for example that generated during walking), and coordinate eye and head movements to resolve oculomotor conflicts to appropriately meet gaze-shifting demands.