Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger’s syndrome is part of the spectrum of autism disorders. This thesis aims to:
• Review and investigate current theories concerning visual function in individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism spectrum disorder and to translate the findings into clinical practice by developing a specific protocol for the eye examination of individuals of this population.
• Investigate whether those with Asperger’s syndrome are more likely to suffer from Meares-Irlen syndrome and/or dyslexia.
• Assess the integrity of the M-cell pathway in Asperger’s syndrome using perimetric tests available in optometric practice to investigate and also to describe the nature of any defects.
• Evaluate eye movement strategies in Asperger’s whilst viewing both text and images. Also to evaluate the most appropriate methodology for investigating eye movements; namely optical digital eye tracking and electrophysiology
Findings of the investigations include
• Eye examinations for individuals with Asperger’s syndrome should contain the same testing methods as for the general population, with special consideration for clear communication.
• There is a depression of M-pathway visual field sensitivity in 57% (8/14) of people with Asperger’s syndrome, supporting previous evidence for an M-cell deficit in some individuals.
• There is a raised prevalence of dyslexia in Asperger’s syndrome (26% of a sample of 31) but not necessarily of Meares-Irlen syndrome.
• Gaze strategies are abnormal in Asperger’s syndrome, for both reading and viewing of images. With increased saccadic movement and decreased viewing of faces in comparison to background detail.
|Date of Award||24 May 2010|
|Supervisor||Robert P Cubbidge (Supervisor), Sarah L Hosking (Supervisor) & Stefano Seri (Supervisor)|
- Asperger’s syndrome
- eye movements
- Magnocellular pathway