Author(s): Burton R, Smith ND, Crabb DP
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Abstract PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between reading speed and eye movements in patients with advanced glaucomatous visual field (VF) defects and age-similar visually healthy people. METHODS: Eighteen patients with advanced bilateral VF defects (mean age: 71, standard deviation [SD]: 7 years) and 39 controls (mean age: 67, SD: 8 years) had reading speed measured using short passages of text on a computer set-up incorporating eye tracking. Scanpaths were plotted and analysed from these experiments to derive measures of 'perceptual span' (total number of letters read per number of saccades) and 'text saturation' (the distance between the first and last fixation on lines of text). Another eye movement measure, termed 'saccadic frequency' (total number of saccades made to read a single word), was derived from a separate lexical decision task, where words were presented in isolation. RESULTS: Significant linear association was demonstrated between perceptual span and reading speed in patients (R (2) = 0.42) and controls (R (2) = 0.56). Linear association between saccadic frequency during the LDT and reading speed was also found in patients (R (2) = 0.42), but not in controls (R (2) = 0.02). Patients also exhibited greater average text saturation than controls (P = 0.004). CONCLUSION: Some, but not all, patients with advanced VF defects read slower than controls using short text passages. Differences in eye movement behaviour may partly account for this variability in patients. These patients were shown to saturate lines of text more during reading, which may explain previously-reported difficulties with sustained reading.
This article was published in Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology