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Satgunam, PremNandhini PhD, MS; Luo, Gang PhD

Does Central Vision Loss Impair Visual Search Performance of Adults More than Children?

publication date
February 18, 2018
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In general, young adults with normal vision show the best visual search performance when compared with children and older adults. Through our study, we show that this trend is not observed in individuals with vision impairment. An interaction effect of vision impairment with visual development and aging is observed.



Performance in many visual tasks typically shows improvement with age until young adulthood and then declines with aging. Using a visual search task, this study investigated whether a similar age effect on performance is present in people with central vision loss.



A total of 98 participants, 37 with normal sight (NS) and 61 with visual impairment (VI) searched for targets in 150 real-world digital images. Search performance was quantified by an integrated measure combining speed and accuracy. Participant ages ranged from 5 to 74 years, visual acuity from −0.14 (20/14.5) to 1.16 logMAR (20/290), and log contrast sensitivity (CS) from 0.48 to 2.0. Data analysis was performed with participants divided into three age groups: children (aged <14 years, n = 25), young adults (aged 14 to 45 years, n = 47), and older adults (aged >45 years, n = 26).



Regression (r2 = 0.7) revealed CS (P < .001) and age (P = .003) were significant predictors of search performance. Performance of VI participants was normalized to the age-matched average performance of the NS group. In the VI group, it was found that children's normalized performance (52%) was better than both young (39%, P = .05) and older (40%, P = .048) adults.



Unlike NS participants, young adults in the VI group may not have search ability superior to children with VI, despite having the same level of visual functions (quantified by visual acuity and CS). This could be because of vision impairment limiting the developmental acquisition of the age dividend for peak performance. Older adults in the VI group had the worst performance, indicating an interaction of aging.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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