To investigate the effect of age-related macular degeneration
(AMD) on memory for spatial representations in realistic environments.
Participants were 19 patients with AMD and 13 age-matched observers. In a short-term spatial memory task, observers were first presented with one view of a scene (the prime view
), and their task was to change the viewpoint forward or backward to match the prime view. Memory performance was measured as the number of snapshots between the selected view and the prime view.
When selecting a match to the prime view, both people with AMD and those in the control group showed systematic biases toward the middle view of the range of snapshots. People with AMD exhibited a stronger middle bias after presentation of close and far prime views while navigating accurately after a middle prime view. No relation was found between visual acuity, visual field defect, or lesion size and the memory performance.
Memory tasks using indoor scenes can be accomplished when central vision is impoverished, as with AMD. Stronger center bias for a scene location suggests that people with AMD rely more on their memory of a canonical view.