Vaegan Seminar: What happens when you lose the fovea? The preferred retinal locus (PRL)

Title:

What happens when you lose the fovea? The preferred retinal locus (PRL) 

Presenter:

Dr Russell Woods

Date/Time:

1.00pm - 2.00pm Friday 26 July 2019 

Location:

Room G31 Old Main Building

Succinct descriptive first sentence:

Reveals how preferred retinal locus (PRL) can be studied in patients with macular lesions or scotomas simulated using gaze-contingent displays.

Event Description:

Central vision loss (CVL) is the most common cause of legal blindness in Australia, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of CVL. CVL impairs many daily activities and reduces quality of life. The fovea is the small location on the retina that is aligned with objects of interest by the visual system of healthy eyes, and is the oculomotor (eye movement) reference. When the fovea is lost due to a macular lesion, high resolution vision is lost, oculomotor control is impaired, and most people develop a preferred retinal locus (PRL).  The PRL is an eccentric retinal area that is aligned with objects of interest, and is usually near the border of the lesion.

Many people develop a PRL in a location that is not ideal for certain everyday activities, such as reading or walking.  That usually comes from the location of the scotoma relative to the PRL, and the lack of awareness of the scotoma extent and location. One of the big unknowns in low-vision research is why that happens; why chose a location that makes it more difficult than it could be?

Following a brief review of the PRL, Professor Woods will cover a series of studies that have examined people with real macular lesions and people with simulated scotomas (using a gaze-contingent display), that have looked at the effects of increasing scotoma size on the PRL, eye movements with a PRL, reading with a PRL, watching TV with a PRL, and whether the clinically-measured PRL is the PRL used when performing daily activities. The implications for vision rehabilitation will be explored. 

Speaker Biography:

Dr Russell L Woods graduated in optometry from UNSW and in visual science from The City University, London, UK.  He completed at postdoctoral fellowship at QUT and was a Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland before moving to the Schepens.  His primary area of research is vision rehabilitation, though he has also published on the bifocal contact lenses, ocular aberrations, retinal imaging, clinical measurement systems and visual perception.

UNSW-wide website event description/summary:

Dr Russell L Woods graduated in Optometry from UNSW and in visual science from The City University, London, UK. He will present studies on patients with macular lesions and simulated scotomas generated using gaze-contingent display technology.

Russell Woods Presentation