Age-related macular degeneration affects central vision and impairs high acuity visual function. Individuals with AMD complain about difficulty with everyday tasks such as reading, recognizing faces and watching television. More recent studies report difficulty with eye-hand coordination and grasping, consistent with data showing that the majority of individuals with AMD have little depth perception. Stereopsis can be impaired when the two eyes have very disparate patterns of vision loss, particularly when the stronger eye determines binocular gaze direction, without regard to the functional status of the corresponding fixation location in the other eye. Loss of depth perception not only impacts tasks requiring eye hand coordination, but it can have serious consequences for mobility and obstacle avoidance. In these studies we evaluate the the relationship between residual stereopsis and the ability to perform a simple grasping task. We also examine the potential for binocular vision and residual stereopsis in individuals with AMD, by making individuals more aware of corresponding loci in the two eyes that have relatively intact visual function.
If you are interested in vision science or want to learn more about low vision and blindness, there are many opportunities to get involved at The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.