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Why do age-related macular degeneration patients have trouble recognizing faces?
Date:1/7/2013

Philadelphia, Pa. (January 7, 2012) - Abnormalities of eye movement and fixation may contribute to difficulty in perceiving and recognizing faces among older adults with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), suggests a study "Abnormal Fixation in Individuals with AMD when Viewing an Image of a Face" appearing in the January issue of Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part ofWolters Kluwer Health.

Unlike people with normal vision focus, those with AMD don't focus on "internal features" (the eyes, nose and mouth) when looking at the image of a face, according to the study by William Seiple, PhD, and colleagues of Lighthouse International, New York. They write, "Abnormal eye movement patterns and fixations may contribute to deficits in face perception in AMD patients."

When Viewing Famous Face, AMD Patients Focus on External Features

The researchers used a sophisticated technique called optical coherence tomography/scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (OCT-SLO) to examine the interior of the eye in nine patients with AMD. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It causes gradual destruction of the macula, leading to blurring and loss of central vision.

Previous studies have suggested that people with AMD have difficulty perceiving faces. To evaluate the possible role of abnormal eye movements, Dr Seiple and colleagues used the OCT-SLO equipment to make microscopic movies of the interior of the eye (fundus, including the retina and macula) as the patient
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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