Location and stability of a newly established eccentric retinal locus suitable for reading, achieved through training of patients with a dense central scotoma

Optom Vis Sci. 1998 Dec;75(12):873-8. doi: 10.1097/00006324-199812000-00009.


Six patients, median age 71 years, with a dense central scotoma in one eye and a median visual acuity of 0.06 (20/330) in the same eye, were all (100%) shown by means of fundus photography including a fixation target to preferably use an unfavorable retinal locus for fixation, i.e., within the lesion (scotoma). None of the patients was able to read novel text with the affected eye. A computer and video display system were used to determine the most suitable area above or below the visual field scotoma (below or above the retinal lesion) for reading and the magnification needed at this eccentricity. The same setup was also used for an introductory training in reading single words as well as scrolled text with the aim of establishing a preferred retinal locus (PRL) at a favorable, eccentric position, the trained retinal locus (TRL). Thereafter, the patients were provided with strong positive lenses (median power, 40 D) for reading printed text at a very short reading distance (median, 2.5 cm), first single words, above and below which help lines were printed to facilitate eccentric fixation, and finally, novel text. The total training time was 4 to 5 h. Thereafter, fundus photography showed that five of the patients (83%) used their TRL as their PRL. Reading speed was 71 words per minute (median). Our results seem to indicate that an eccentric PRL favorable for effective reading can be established through training and that a fairly low number of training sessions is required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Reading*
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Scotoma / rehabilitation*
  • Vision, Low / rehabilitation*
  • Visual Acuity