Visual field and structural alterations in age-related macular degeneration

  • Jennifer H. Acton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The thesis investigated progression of the central 10° visual field with structural changes at the macula in a cross-section of patients with varying degrees of agerelated macular degeneration (AMD). The relationships between structure and function were investigated for both standard and short-wavelength automated perimetry (SWAP). Factors known to influence the measure of visual field progression were considered, including the accuracy of the refractive correction on SWAP thresholds and the learning effect. Techniques of assessing the structure to function relationships between fundus images and the visual field were developed with computer programming and evaluated for repeatability. Drusen quantification of fundus photographs and retro-mode scanning laser ophthalmoscopic images was performed. Visual field progression was related to structural changes derived from both manual and automated methods. Principal Findings: • Visual field sensitivity declined with advancing stage of AMD. SWAP showed greater sensitivity to progressive changes than standard perimetry. • Defects were confined to the central 5°. SWAP defects occurred at similar locations but were deeper and wider than corresponding standard perimetry defects. • The central field became less uniform as severity of AMD increased. SWAP visual field indices of focal loss were of more importance when detecting early change in AMD, than indices of diffuse loss. • The decline in visual field sensitivity over stage of severity of AMD was not uniform, whereas a linear relationship was found between the automated measure of drusen area and visual field parameters. • Perimetry exhibited a stronger relationship with drusen area than other measures of visual function. • Overcorrection of the refraction for the working distance in SWAP should be avoided in subjects with insufficient accommodative facility. • The perimetric learning effect in the 10° field did not differ significantly between normal subjects and AMD patients. • Subretinal deposits appeared more numerous in retro-mode imaging than in fundus photography.
Date of AwardFeb 2010
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRobert P Cubbidge (Supervisor)


  • perimetry
  • short-wavelength automated perimetry
  • drusen
  • scanning laser ophthalmoscope

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