Relearning to see
Monday, June 10 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
Perceptual learning techniques could help older people with central vision loss, according to an article published in Optometry and Vision Science.
Perceptual learning is used in the case of young patients with amblyopia. However, until recently, the scientific community thought that the visual system in older adults no longer had enough plasticity to benefit from this approach.
The article by Dr. Susana Chung could change that. She found that people with central vision loss could adopt another location in the macula to accomplish their visual tasks. She conducted various experiments on six patients to check whether they could be trained to better see using this part of the eye. The results show that, on average, the patients could read 50% faster after training.
The author of the article says that the exercises do not improve visual acuity. Older people still needed large-print books or magnification to see print. And the progress disappeared when the patients stopped training. Yet, the research shows that older patients retain their visual plasticity, which could lead to new vision rehabilitation strategies.