Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can impact many day-to-day activities like face recognition, reading, driving, etc.1 Patients with AMD may have to use a non-foveal eccentric location, the preferred retinal locus (PRL) for fixation and other visual tasks. The PRL can vary between tasks, but in general has been documented to be just outside the degenerated retinal area and hence may not be in a region of normal retina 2. There may also be local functional changes at the PRL.3 Visual rehabilitation, including eccentric viewing training and training in the use of low vision devices, has been the mainstay of low vision management of patients with AMD.4
Understanding the PRL assumes significance as it can potentially lead to better rehabilitation as well as provide crucial insights about the disease process of AMD. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is an imaging modality that is analogous to ultra sound scan and uses light to obtain a high-resolution image of the retina. Micro-perimetry is a potent tool to investigate local retinal sensitivity, and is different from conventional testing in its capability to track a retinal region of interest and compensate for fixational eye movements. The latter ensures reliable presentation of visual stimuli at the intended retinal locations.5, 6
In this study, we will utilize a commercially available instrument, OPKOS OCT/SLO 7, to study in detail the retinal region corresponding to the reading PRL in subjects with AMD. Specifically, we propose to probe the retinal sensitivity in the local regions at the reading PRL and assess the integrity of the outer retinal layers in the same region. Understanding both the retinal function and structure will provide a comprehensive picture of the retinal regions used for reading, which may help us understand how the reading PRL develops in relation to the AMD disease process.