Purpose: To investigate the effects of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) on mobility performance and to identify the vision determinants of mobility in subjects with ARMD.
Methods: Walking speed and the number of obstacle contacts made on a 79-m indoor mobility course were measured in 21 subjects with ARMD and 11 age-matched subjects with normal vision. The mobility measures were transformed to percentage preferred walking speed and contacts score. The vision functions assessed included binocular visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual field.
Results: In this study, subjects with ARMD did not walk significantly slower or make significantly more obstacle contacts on the mobility course than the normally sighted subjects of similar age. Between 29% and 35% of the variance in the ARMD mobility performance was accounted for by visual field and contrast sensitivity measures. The most significant predictor of mobility performance scored as percentage preferred walking speed was the size of a binocular central scotoma.
Conclusion: As the size of a binocular central scotoma increases, mobility performance decreases.