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Title: Characteristics of visual function in Asperger’s syndrome and the autism spectrum
Author: Whiskens, Amy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 8449
Awarding Body: Aston University
Current Institution: Aston University
Date of Award: 2010
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Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger’s syndrome is part of the spectrum of autism disorders. This thesis aims to: • Review and investigate current theories concerning visual function in individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism spectrum disorder and to translate the findings into clinical practice by developing a specific protocol for the eye examination of individuals of this population. • Investigate whether those with Asperger’s syndrome are more likely to suffer from Meares-Irlen syndrome and/or dyslexia. • Assess the integrity of the M-cell pathway in Asperger’s syndrome using perimetric tests available in optometric practice to investigate and also to describe the nature of any defects. • Evaluate eye movement strategies in Asperger’s whilst viewing both text and images. Also to evaluate the most appropriate methodology for investigating eye movements; namely optical digital eye tracking and electrophysiology methodologies. Findings of the investigations include • Eye examinations for individuals with Asperger’s syndrome should contain the same testing methods as for the general population, with special consideration for clear communication. • There is a depression of M-pathway visual field sensitivity in 57% (8/14) of people with Asperger’s syndrome, supporting previous evidence for an M-cell deficit in some individuals. • There is a raised prevalence of dyslexia in Asperger’s syndrome (26% of a sample of 31) but not necessarily of Meares-Irlen syndrome. • Gaze strategies are abnormal in Asperger’s syndrome, for both reading and viewing of images. With increased saccadic movement and decreased viewing of faces in comparison to background detail.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Ophthalmics