Topical Review: Impact of Central Vision Loss on Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance while Walking

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SIGNIFICANCE : Individuals with central vision loss are at higher risk of injury when walking and thus may limit trips outside the home. Understanding the mobility challenges associated with central vision loss (CVL) can lead to more effective interventions. A systematic literature review focusing on mobility in CVL was conducted. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses method, 2424 articles were identified in 4 databases (PsycINFO, APA PsycArticles, PubMed, and Web of Science). To be included within this review, the study methodology needed to be related to the three components of walking: (1) navigation, defined as the ability to reach a target destination; (2) obstacle avoidance, defined as the ability to avoid collisions with obstacles located at various heights and directions; and (3) street crossing, defined as the ability to both navigate a path and avoid collisions in a traffic environment. The methodology also needed to be empirical. Case studies, unstructured observational studies, studies based on self-report, research proposals, and existing systematic reviews were excluded. Titles, abstracts, and full text of identified articles were screened, yielding 26 articles included in the review. Results showed that, in many tasks, individuals with CVL can accomplish a level of performance comparable with individuals with normal vision. Differences between normal and impaired vision were due to either age or how the groups completed the task. For example, individuals with CVL could cross a street successfully but did so less safely (i.e., smaller safety margins) than individuals with normal vision. To identify new interventions for CVL, future research should focus on the differences in the mechanisms underlying mobility between individuals with normal and impaired vision rather than solely on performance differences.

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Cloutier, Melissa and DeLucia, Patricia R.. "Topical Review: Impact of Central Vision Loss on Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance while Walking." Optometry and Vision Science, 99, no. 12 (2022) Wolters Kluwer: 890-899. https://doi.org/10.1097/OPX.0000000000001960.

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This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by the American Academy of Optometry.
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