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Title: A study to develop a new clinical measure to assess visual awareness in tunnel vision
Author: Al Shaghthrah, Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 3737
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Visual conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome can gradually cause tunnel vision. Patients with these conditions usually face difficulties with navigation, avoiding obstacles, and performing visual search. Loss of mobility can affect patients' independence and quality of life. One of the rehabilitation strategies for patients with tunnel vision is the use of optical aids to enhance mobility performance. The main method used to evaluate the usefulness of optical aids is the patient’s subjective report after extended wear. In order to evaluate optical aid effectiveness in the clinic, a new test based on the visual search paradigm was designed to assess the patient's visual awareness. This was named the assessment of visual awareness (AVA) test. The main aim of this study was to develop the AVA test, establish its sensitivity, validity and repeatability, and then use it to investigate the efficacy of optical aids in this group of people. The AVA test consists of 32 peripheral targets presented at four different locations: 1st annulus (at 5° from the central fixation), 2nd annulus (10°), 3rd annulus (20°) and 4th annulus (30°)). In this study, the peripheral targets were presented singly against a spatial noise background in a presentation area of 81° H × 62° V. Participants were allowed to use head and eye movements and were asked to search for and locate each target. The detection time (DT) was recorded. A new, sensitive and easy to set up indoor mobility course was also designed and validated prior to its use in validating the AVA test. A total of 50 normally sighted participants with simulated tunnel vision (TV) (5° to 20°, in 5° steps) and 20 patients with TV (retained field 4° to 21°) were tested. The AVA test was found to be responsive to the change in field of view (FoV) and to the target locations in both groups of participants. In the simulated group, a significant relationship was found between FoV and DT at each annulus (r ranging from -0.55 to -0.77, p < 0.0001). A significant relationship was found between target location and DT within each FoV size (20°, 15°, 10° and 5°) (r ranging from 0.53 to 0.84, p < 0.0001). In the TV patients, a statistically significant relationship was found between FoV and DT at each annulus (r range from -0.40 to -0.60, p < 0.05). The target location was shown to have a significant relationship with the DT within each FoV size (r ranging from 0.50 to 0.60, p < 0.05). Finally, the AVA test was found to be significantly related to the simulated TV participants' performance on the indoor mobility course. The AVA test was used to assess the efficacy of three optical aids: the partial aperture prism (10 patients), the Tri-field prism (10 patients) and the reverse telescope (4 patients). The AVA test showed no significant improvement in DT with either of the prisms and the participants did not find these aids helpful. DT with the reverse telescope improved, but none of the participants were willing to use these on extended trial. The AVA test gave clear indications of the efficacy of each aid, a result which could affirm the importance of the AVA test. In conclusion, the AVA test was found to be sensitive, valid and repeatable. DT did not improve in either of the optical aids which were found to be unsuccessful, suggesting that the AVA could be a promising clinical test. However the aids which showed improved DT were not evaluated over the longer term, and therefore did not allow full evaluation of the AVA test.
Supervisor: Murray, Ian; Dickinson, Christine; Radhakrishnan, Hema Sponsor: King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Low Vision ; RP ; Tunnel Vision ; Optical Aids ; Visual Search ; Visual Awareness ; Peripheral Field Loss ; Usher Syndrome