Boğaziçi University Psychology Department Lecturer Assoc. Dr. An international research team, including İnci Ayhan, has developed a new method to detect visual disturbances caused by macular degeneration. It is aimed to develop special devices that will increase the quality of life of patients by making use of the method that can easily map visual disorders at an early stage.
Member of the Department of Psychology at the University of London, England, Prof. Dr. Johannes Zanker, UK Torbay Hospital Ophthalmology Department Medical Doctor Edward Doyle and Boğaziçi University Psychology Department Lecturer Assoc. Dr. In collaboration with İnci Ayhan, a new method has been developed that can quickly and effectively map the visual disturbances of macular degeneration patients at an early stage. With this method, while the patients make the desired shape corrections on the computer, their eye movements are followed with the help of an eye tracker. According to the values obtained in this process, an index is reached showing how much visual impairment the patient has.
“At some stage, patients see objects as wavy”
Assoc. Dr. İnci Ayhan states that in the early stage of macular degeneration, patients begin to see objects as wavy. Sharing the knowledge that this affects the quality of life, especially while reading, the scientist says:
“Yellow spot disease is an eye disease that affects the photoreceptors that convert light energy into an electro-chemical signal in the region of the retina called the 'macular'. In the later stages of the disease, vision loss occurs with the proliferation of waste materials accumulated in the 'macular' region and the formation of new blood vessels, and vision cannot be realized in the affected area of the visual field. Before this, there is another symptom that occurs at an early stage. This is called 'metamorphopsia' in the literature. Patients see straight objects or lines as wavy. This disorder in the perception of shape makes it difficult for the patients to read the texts and negatively affects their quality of life. In our study, we developed a method that can perceptually map these deformities, and we also created an index that will allow us to measure its magnitude. If the disease can be detected at an early stage, visual function can be preserved with treatment. While our method has the potential to provide reliable results for the diagnosis of deformity, which is one of the first-stage symptoms of the disease, it also offers significant benefit to clinical practice.”
“Early diagnosis is very important for the preservation of visual function”
The scientist says that while making this mapping, they benefited from the 'Amsler Grid' method, which is widely used in clinics to detect the disease.
Assoc. Dr. Ayhan said, “We have created a graphical interface where the observers can correct the linear sequences called 'Amsler pattern' on the screen with the help of mouse and keyboard. In the classic Amsler Grid procedure, the patient looking at the grid is asked to say if he or she sees any disturbance in this pattern. Although this is common in clinics, it does not provide a quantitative measure of the severity of the 'metamorphopsychic' perception. In the 'Recursive Amsler Grid' method we developed, the shape perception deformations in different parts of the field can be tested locally. In addition, error measurement values can be calculated with our method. This index makes it possible to compare differences between patients and how shape perception changes over time for the same observer.”
“New devices can be designed using this method”
Assoc. Dr. Ayhan adds that macular degeneration is among the first causes of serious vision loss, especially in developed countries.
Emphasizing that the method they developed can be used in the development of new devices that will increase the quality of life of patients through advanced R&D studies, he says that their search for national and international support continues:
“This method offers us important data beyond the classical method. Although there is no cure for macular degeneration at the moment, we can use it to improve the quality of life of patients. Because patients can have a very difficult time, especially at points that require close vision skills such as reading. By making use of this method we have developed now, new devices can be designed that will raise the living standards of patients with national and international support.”
Günceleme: 07/06/2022 15:51