Psychophysical function in age-related maculopathy

Surv Ophthalmol. Mar-Apr 2009;54(2):167-210. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2008.12.003.

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the late stage of age-related maculopathy (ARM), is the leading cause of blind registration in developed countries. The visual loss in AMD occurs due to dysfunction and death of photoreceptors (rods and cones) secondary to an atrophic or a neovascular event. The psychophysical tests of vision, which depend on the functional status of the photoreceptors, may detect subtle alterations in the macula before morphological fundus changes are apparent ophthalmoscopically, and before traditional measures of visual acuity exhibit deterioration, and may be a useful tool for assessing and monitoring patients with ARM. Furthermore, worsening of these visual functions over time may reflect disease progression, and some of these, alone or in combination with other parameters, may act as a prognostic indicator for identifying eyes at risk for developing neovascular AMD. Lastly, psychophysical tests often correlate with subjective and relatively undefined symptoms in patients with early ARM, and may reflect limitation of daily activities for ARM patients. However, clinical studies investigating psychophysical function have largely been cross-sectional in nature, with small sample sizes, and lack consistency in terms of the grading and classification of ARM. This article aims to comprehensively review the literature germane to psychophysical tests in ARM, and to furnish the reader with an insight into this complex area of research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Ocular / physiology
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / physiology*
  • Psychophysics*
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Visual Perception / physiology*