Optometry and Vision Sciences - Theses

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    Incorporating spatial information into visual field testing algorithms
    Rubinstein, Nikki Juliet ( 2017)
    Current clinical perimetric thresholding algorithms are susceptible to high test-retest variability in areas of low vision and require long periods of patient concentration. A possible approach to addressing these limitations is exploiting spatial information in the visual field to inform the choice of stimulus location and intensity. This thesis aimed develop new perimetric algorithms using this approach, in an attempt to reduce test times and test-retest variability. The first experiment described in this thesis aimed to develop an algorithm that uses a heuristic approach to incorporate spatial information (Chapter 3). The new algorithm — SWeLZ (Spatially Weighted Liklelihoods in ZEST) — is a Bayesian procedure that uses modified likelihood functions to update information at multiple locations after each stimulus presentation. Computer simulations showed that SWeLZ achieved a comparable level of error to ZEST across all levels of sensitivity. SWeLZ was able to detect both glaucomatous and non-glaucomatous localised visual field loss. The number of presentations was reduced by 25% for SWeLZ relative to ZEST for normal visual fields. This reduction in test time was not found for visual fields with areas of visual field loss. The second experiment described in this thesis aimed to develop an algorithm that uses a Markov Random Field representation of the visual field to drive stimulus placement (Chapter 4). The newly developed algorithm—BART (Bayesian Adaptive Random Test) — uses local conditional probability distributions to describe likely sensitivity values. Many variants of the procedure were explored. BART was set to terminate in the same number of presentations as ZEST. BART achieved a similar level or error to ZEST for simulations when simulated with a reliable responder, but tended to overestimate visual sensitivity values in areas of absolute visual field loss, when simulated with a typical false positive responder. As is common in algorithm development, the newly developed algorithms were tested using computer simulation, which allows many tests to be run in a relatively short period of time. The final experiment described in this thesis aimed to explore the assumptions underpinning simulated responses (Chapter 5). Frequency of seeing curves were measured at three locations in the visual field for 16 observers with glaucoma, using both a forced choice and a yes-no procedure. The relationship found between sensitivity and frequency of seeing curve upper asymptote found in yes-no experiments disappeared when observers were forced to choose. This finding suggests that observers preferentially allocate attention towards locations with higher sensitivity. These experiments confirm previous findings that areas of moderate-to-severe visual field loss are associated with high test variability and reduced maximum response rates when measured with white-on-white standard automated perimetry. Given the small amount of information gleaned from testing these locations, it may be prudent to focus testing power elsewhere, such as on spatial extent of defects rather than defect depth.
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    The effects of ageing and visual field loss on visuomotor control
    Rubinstein, Nikki Juliet ( 2012)
    Aspects of visual localisation, such as foveal hyperacuity, decline with age. However, the effect of ageing on the visual localisation judgements required for goal-directed reaching movements has not been studied. It is also unknown whether pointing precision to such visual stimuli are altered with ageing. Further, the effects of visual impairment on these tasks are not understood. This thesis aimed to investigate the effects of ageing and compromised peripheral visual function on visual localisation and pointing precision. The first part of this thesis aimed to investigate the effects of ageing on visual localisation and pointing precision (Chapter 4). Experiment 1 consisted of a cohort of younger and older observers performing visual localisation and pointing tasks. The results suggest that both the visual localisation and pointing systems remain largely intact with ageing. However, the visual localisation precision of older adults was more affected by the removal of visual references than younger observers. These findings are encouraging for older adults; especially with the increasingly active part they play in the workforce, and society at large. In order to further probe the state of the older visuomotor system, the second part of this thesis investigated the pointing and visual localisation precision of older observers with compromised visual status (Chapter 5). Older adults with glaucoma, a chronic eye disease that results in reduced visual field sensitivity, were used as the model for compromised visual status in Experiment 2. Results suggest that patients with glaucoma show a reduced ability to locate objects both visually and manually. However, perimetry – a clinical measure of visual field sensitivity – provides only a small indication of the degree of this difficulty. Observers with glaucoma also showed a reduced benefit of binocularity compared with their older controls for visual localisation tasks, suggesting that reduced visual field sensitivity may inhibit aspects of binocular processing.