Vision impairment provides new insight into self-motion perception

Wilson Luu; Barbara Zangerl; Michael Kalloniatis; Stephen Palmisano; Juno Kim

The perception of self-motion is important for knowing where we are in an environment. This study shows that this perception may be adversely affected in AMD and glaucoma. Up to 74% of patients with these diseases will perceive visually-mediated self-motion at a different speed to normal and may also notice people or vehicles moving differently. Patients may compensate for this altered perception by moving at a different speed leading to a mismatch in sensory information. This may lead to increased accidents and falls. This study also shows that these patients may experience lower levels of severity of cybersickness (motion sickness-like symptoms associated with simulators and screens) with virtual reality (VR). As such, VR may be a useful tool for mobility rehabilitation. To read more: tinyurl.com/52oq57yn

Clinical applications:

When assessing patients with AMD and glaucoma, this study may prompt additional questions or observations:

  • How fast/slow is the patient moving/walking/driving? Do they/their passengers feel safe? Impaired motion perception can increase risk of accidents.
  • Are they bumping into people/moving objects? Is there any misjudgment of steps/footing? Are they using their other senses to move around, such as hearing? The patient may need to regularly readjust skills to account for integration of sensory information with vision impairment.
  • Are they having trouble with orientation or mobility? The patient may benefit from working with Orientation and Mobility instructors