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Researchers develop tests to assess everyday visual function

Participants are asked to identify common objects that appear briefly on a screen and recognise approaching road signs

SP Higgins video 2

Researchers at City, University of London's Crabb Lab have created a series of assessments that examine everyday visual function among age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients.

Speaking with OT, City, University of London PhD student, Bethany Higgins, explained that the tests provide insight that can be challenging to capture using traditional chart-based assessments for visual acuity and contrast sensitivity.

The assessments are offered through a computer platform, with the potential for enabling home monitoring of AMD in the future.

Higgins explained that three tests have been developed – a visual search test and two involving road signs.

The search test involves identifying an everyday object that appears on the screen for half a second, then finding it among an array of 48 other objects.

The two road sign tasks involve identifying approaching road signs, with one test more challenging than the other.

Researchers examined the speed and accuracy of study participants across the different assessments.

They found that while people with AMD were slower in performing the different tasks compared to a control group with healthy vision, there was no significant difference in accuracy.

“Overall that means that people with AMD will take longer to find that box of cereal on the shelf, but they can find it,” Higgins explained.

Watch the full interview with OT below.

City, University of London PhD student, Bethany Higgins, discusses new AMD tests that assess everyday visual function.

The research is described in PLoS ONE.