Mechanisms of Dark Adaptation and their link with early Age Related Macular Degeneration

UoM administered thesis: Phd

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of blindness in older people in developed countries. Although the early stages of the disease are thought to be symptomless, it is known that rod function systematically deteriorates as the disease progresses. The rod-mediated sensitivity recovery, called dark adaptation (DA), is abnormal in early AMD and it is clear this alteration precedes changes in visual function such as visual acuity (VA). In fact by the time VA is abnormal in AMD, many millions of rods will have been lost. DA has not been extensively studied in clinics due to the prolonged testing time. The work described has four principal aims. First to investigate the homogeneity of the rod dysfunction in normal aging; second to study DA changes at different locations across the retina in early AMD; third to compare morphological features of early AMD fundus images with scotopic and photopic function; and fourth to assess new strategies for reducing the duration of the DA procedure. Testing DA at different locations (3° and 5.5° eccentricity) in young and older eyes indicated that the age-related deficit is likely to be uniform across the retina. Using the same method in early stage AMD patients, revealed wide variations in the pattern of DA abnormalities. A MANOVA showed a strong location effect (p

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Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Aug 2017