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Defining the Nature of Motion Perception Deficits in Glaucoma Using Simple and Complex Motion Stimuli

KARWATSKY, PETER OD, MSc; BERTONE, ARMANDO PhD; OVERBURY, OLGA PhD; FAUBERT, JOCELYN PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.opx.0000225107.38719.0d
Original Article

Purpose. The purpose of this study is to determine the nature of motion perception deficits in primary open-angle glaucoma by measuring the sensitivity of simple (luminance-defined) and complex (texture-defined) motion, the latter requiring supplementary neural processing to be resolved. These findings will help address the possible extent of the cortical damage in glaucoma that has been recently demonstrated by anatomic and physiological studies. They also serve the purpose of establishing which motion paradigms would be most appropriate for assessing glaucoma-related functional loss.

Methods. Direction-identification thresholds for first-order and second-order motion were measured for 26 patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (for both phakic and pseudophakic) and 18 nonglaucomatous observers.

Results. The glaucomatous observers showed significantly increased motion thresholds for both first- and second-order motion conditions when compared with nonglaucomatous observers. However, the relative increase in threshold for first-order motion did not differ significantly from that of second-order motion.

Conclusions. These findings imply that there is no measurable higher-level cortical function damage caused by the glaucomatous process because no greater loss in second-order motion was observed. Based on the results, we suggest that motion paradigms used to assess functional loss in primary open-angle glaucoma should consist of simple, first-order type stimuli to minimize potential confounds such as those introduced by both the normal and pathologic aging process on complex motion processing (i.e., perimetry using complex motion stimuli).

Visual Psychophyiscs and Perception Laboratory, école d'Optométrie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada (PK, AB, JF) and Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, Quebec, Canada (OO)

Received December 7, 2005; accepted April 3, 2005.

© 2006 American Academy of Optometry