Comparison of Stimulus Types for Retinotopic Cortical Mapping of Macular Disease

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2023 Mar 1;12(3):6. doi: 10.1167/tvst.12.3.6.


Purpose: Retinotopic maps acquired using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) provide a valuable adjunct in the assessment of macular function at the level of the visual cortex. The present study quantitatively assessed the performance of different visual stimulation approaches for mapping visual field coverage.

Methods: Twelve patients with geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were examined using high-resolution ultra-high field fMRI (Siemens Magnetom 7T) and microperimetry (MP; Nidek MP-3). The population receptive field (pRF)-based coverage maps obtained with two different stimulus techniques (moving bars, and rotating wedges and expanding rings) were compared with the results of MP. Correspondence between MP and pRF mapping was quantified by calculating the simple matching coefficient (SMC).

Results: Stimulus choice is shown to bias the spatial distribution of pRF centers and eccentricity values with pRF sizes obtained from wedge/ring or bar stimulation showing systematic differences. Wedge/ring stimulation results show a higher number of pRF centers in foveal areas and strongly reduced pRF sizes compared to bar stimulation runs. A statistical comparison shows significantly higher pRF center numbers in the foveal 2.5 degrees region of the visual field for wedge/ring compared to bar stimuli. However, these differences do not significantly influence SMC values when compared to MP (bar <2.5 degrees: 0.88 ± 0.13; bar >2.5 degrees: 0.88 ± 0.11; wedge/ring <2.5 degrees: 0.89 ± 0.12 wedge/ring; >2.5 degrees: 0.86 ± 0.10) for the peripheral visual field.

Conclusions: Both visual stimulation designs examined can be applied successfully in patients with GA. Although the two designs show systematic differences in the distribution of pRF center locations, this variability has minimal impact on the SMC when compared to the MP outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Fovea Centralis
  • Geographic Atrophy*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration* / diagnosis
  • Visual Cortex* / diagnostic imaging
  • Visual Cortex* / physiology
  • Visual Fields