Binocular interactions in patients with age-related macular degeneration: Acuity summation and rivalry

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Abstract

This study examined two aspects of binocular function in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD): summation/inhibition of visual acuity and rivalry. The performance of 17 patients with AMD was compared with that of 17 elderly controls and 21 young people. Monocular and binocular acuities were measured using a multiple-E optotype test. Binocular ratios, defined as the better-eye acuity divided by the binocular acuity, were calculated. We also measured eye dominance during rivalry (proportion of time the participants reported perceiving the input to each eye) and rivalry rates (number of alternations per minute). The results showed that while overall binocular ratios were similar for the three groups, the frequency distributions of people who experienced inhibition, equality or summation were different for the young and AMD groups. In the rivalry test, patients experienced more piecemeal perception than the elderly and young controls, but time dominance from the better-seeing eye was comparable for the three groups. Rivalry rates decreased with age and further with pathology. Moreover, rivalry time dominance of the worse-seeing eye was negatively correlated with interocular acuity differences for the AMD group.

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