Mobility Enhancement & Vision Rehabilitation

Bowers AR, Ananyev E, Mandel AJ, Goldstein RB, Peli E. Driving with hemianopia: IV. Head scanning and detection at intersections in a simulator. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(3):1540-8.Abstract
PURPOSE: Using a driving simulator, we examined the effects of homonymous hemianopia (HH) on head scanning behaviors at intersections and evaluated the role of inadequate head scanning in detection failures. METHODS: Fourteen people with complete HH and without cognitive decline or visual neglect and 12 normally sighted (NV) current drivers participated. They drove in an urban environment following predetermined routes, which included multiple intersections. Head scanning behaviors were quantified at T-intersections (n = 32) with a stop or yield sign. Participants also performed a pedestrian detection task. The relationship between head scanning and detection was examined at 10 intersections. RESULTS: For HH drivers, the first scan was more likely to be toward the blind than the seeing hemifield. They also made a greater proportion of head scans overall to the blind side than did the NV drivers to the corresponding side (P = 0.003). However, head scan magnitudes of HH drivers were smaller than those of the NV group (P < 0.001). Drivers with HH had impaired detection of blind-side pedestrians due either to not scanning in the direction of the pedestrian or to an insufficient scan magnitude (left HH detected only 46% and right HH 8% at the extreme left and right of the intersection, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Drivers with HH demonstrated compensatory head scan patterns, but not scan magnitudes. Inadequate scanning resulted in blind-side detection failures, which might place HH drivers at increased risk for collisions at intersections. Scanning training tailored to specific problem areas identified in this study might be beneficial.
Connors EC, Chrastil ER, Sánchez J, Merabet LB. Virtual environments for the transfer of navigation skills in the blind: a comparison of directed instruction vs. video game based learning approaches. Front Hum Neurosci 2014;8:223.Abstract
For profoundly blind individuals, navigating in an unfamiliar building can represent a significant challenge. We investigated the use of an audio-based, virtual environment called Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES) that can be explored for the purposes of learning the layout of an unfamiliar, complex indoor environment. Furthermore, we compared two modes of interaction with AbES. In one group, blind participants implicitly learned the layout of a target environment while playing an exploratory, goal-directed video game. By comparison, a second group was explicitly taught the same layout following a standard route and instructions provided by a sighted facilitator. As a control, a third group interacted with AbES while playing an exploratory, goal-directed video game however, the explored environment did not correspond to the target layout. Following interaction with AbES, a series of route navigation tasks were carried out in the virtual and physical building represented in the training environment to assess the transfer of acquired spatial information. We found that participants from both modes of interaction were able to transfer the spatial knowledge gained as indexed by their successful route navigation performance. This transfer was not apparent in the control participants. Most notably, the game-based learning strategy was also associated with enhanced performance when participants were required to find alternate routes and short cuts within the target building suggesting that a ludic-based training approach may provide for a more flexible mental representation of the environment. Furthermore, outcome comparisons between early and late blind individuals suggested that greater prior visual experience did not have a significant effect on overall navigation performance following training. Finally, performance did not appear to be associated with other factors of interest such as age, gender, and verbal memory recall. We conclude that the highly interactive and immersive exploration of the virtual environment greatly engages a blind user to develop skills akin to positive near transfer of learning. Learning through a game play strategy appears to confer certain behavioral advantages with respect to how spatial information is acquired and ultimately manipulated for navigation.
Alberti CF, Horowitz T, Bronstad MP, Bowers AR. Visual attention measures predict pedestrian detection in central field loss: a pilot study. PLoS One 2014;9(2):e89381.Abstract
PURPOSE: The ability of visually impaired people to deploy attention effectively to maximize use of their residual vision in dynamic situations is fundamental to safe mobility. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate whether tests of dynamic attention (multiple object tracking; MOT) and static attention (Useful Field of View; UFOV) were predictive of the ability of people with central field loss (CFL) to detect pedestrian hazards in simulated driving. METHODS: 11 people with bilateral CFL (visual acuity 20/30-20/200) and 11 age-similar normally-sighted drivers participated. Dynamic and static attention were evaluated with brief, computer-based MOT and UFOV tasks, respectively. Dependent variables were the log speed threshold for 60% correct identification of targets (MOT) and the increase in the presentation duration for 75% correct identification of a central target when a concurrent peripheral task was added (UFOV divided and selective attention subtests). Participants drove in a simulator and pressed the horn whenever they detected pedestrians that walked or ran toward the road. The dependent variable was the proportion of timely reactions (could have stopped in time to avoid a collision). RESULTS: UFOV and MOT performance of CFL participants was poorer than that of controls, and the proportion of timely reactions was also lower (worse) (84% and 97%, respectively; p = 0.001). For CFL participants, higher proportions of timely reactions correlated significantly with higher (better) MOT speed thresholds (r = 0.73, p = 0.01), with better performance on the UFOV divided and selective attention subtests (r = -0.66 and -0.62, respectively, p<0.04), with better contrast sensitivity scores (r = 0.54, p = 0.08) and smaller scotomas (r = -0.60, p = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that brief laboratory-based tests of visual attention may provide useful measures of functional visual ability of individuals with CFL relevant to more complex mobility tasks.
Bowers AR, Keeney K, Peli E. Randomized crossover clinical trial of real and sham peripheral prism glasses for hemianopia. JAMA Ophthalmol 2014;132(2):214-22.Abstract
IMPORTANCE: There is a major lack of randomized controlled clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of prismatic treatments for hemianopia. Evidence for their effectiveness is mostly based on anecdotal case reports and open-label evaluations without a control condition. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of real relative to sham peripheral prism glasses for patients with complete homonymous hemianopia. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Double-masked, randomized crossover trial at 13 study sites, including the Peli laboratory at Schepens Eye Research Institute, 11 vision rehabilitation clinics in the United States, and 1 in the United Kingdom. Patients were 18 years or older with complete homonymous hemianopia for at least 3 months and without visual neglect or significant cognitive decline. INTERVENTION: Patients were allocated by minimization into 2 groups. One group received real (57-prism diopter) oblique and sham (<5-prism diopter) horizontal prisms; the other received real horizontal and sham oblique, in counterbalanced order. Each crossover period was 4 weeks. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was the overall difference, across the 2 periods of the crossover, between the proportion of participants who wanted to continue with (said yes to) real prisms and the proportion who said yes to sham prisms. The secondary outcome was the difference in perceived mobility improvement between real and sham prisms. RESULTS: Of 73 patients randomized, 61 completed the crossover. A significantly higher proportion said yes to real than sham prisms (64% vs 36%; odds ratio, 5.3; 95% CI, 1.8-21.0). Participants who continued wear after 6 months reported greater improvement in mobility with real than sham prisms at crossover end (P = .002); participants who discontinued wear reported no difference. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Real peripheral prism glasses were more helpful for obstacle avoidance when walking than sham glasses, with no differences between the horizontal and oblique designs. Peripheral prism glasses provide a simple and inexpensive mobility rehabilitation intervention for hemianopia. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00494676.
Connors EC, Chrastil ER, Sánchez J, Merabet LB. Action video game play and transfer of navigation and spatial cognition skills in adolescents who are blind. Front Hum Neurosci 2014;8:133.Abstract
For individuals who are blind, navigating independently in an unfamiliar environment represents a considerable challenge. Inspired by the rising popularity of video games, we have developed a novel approach to train navigation and spatial cognition skills in adolescents who are blind. Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES) is a software application that allows for the virtual exploration of an existing building set in an action video game metaphor. Using this ludic-based approach to learning, we investigated the ability and efficacy of adolescents with early onset blindness to acquire spatial information gained from the exploration of a target virtual indoor environment. Following game play, participants were assessed on their ability to transfer and mentally manipulate acquired spatial information on a set of navigation tasks carried out in the real environment. Success in transfer of navigation skill performance was markedly high suggesting that interacting with AbES leads to the generation of an accurate spatial mental representation. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between success in game play and navigation task performance. The role of virtual environments and gaming in the development of mental spatial representations is also discussed. We conclude that this game based learning approach can facilitate the transfer of spatial knowledge and further, can be used by individuals who are blind for the purposes of navigation in real-world environments.
Alberti CF, Peli E, Bowers AR. Driving with hemianopia: III. Detection of stationary and approaching pedestrians in a simulator. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(1):368-74.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare blind-side detection performance of drivers with homonymous hemianopia (HH) for stationary and approaching pedestrians, initially appearing at small (4°) or large (14°) eccentricities in a driving simulator. While the stationary pedestrians did not represent an imminent threat, as their eccentricity increased rapidly as the vehicle advanced, the approaching pedestrians maintained a collision course with approximately constant eccentricity, walking or running, toward the travel lane as if to cross. METHODS: Twelve participants with complete HH and without spatial neglect pressed the horn whenever they detected a pedestrian while driving along predetermined routes in two driving simulator sessions. Miss rates and reaction times were analyzed for 52 stationary and 52 approaching pedestrians. RESULTS: Miss rates were higher and reaction times longer on the blind than the seeing side (P < 0.01). On the blind side, miss rates were lower for approaching than stationary pedestrians (16% vs. 29%, P = 0.01), especially at larger eccentricities (20% vs. 54%, P = 0.005), but reaction times for approaching pedestrians were longer (1.72 vs. 1.41 seconds; P = 0.03). Overall, the proportion of potential blind-side collisions (missed and late responses) was not different for the two paradigms (41% vs. 35%, P = 0.48), and significantly higher than for the seeing side (3%, P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: In a realistic pedestrian detection task, drivers with HH exhibited significant blind-side detection deficits. Even when approaching pedestrians were detected, responses were often too late to avoid a potential collision.
Wiecek E, Dakin SC, Bex P. Metamorphopsia and letter recognition. J Vis 2014;14(14)Abstract

Acuity is the most commonly used measure of visual function, and reductions in acuity are associated with most eye diseases. Metamorphopsia-a perceived distortion of visual space-is another common symptom of visual impairment and is currently assessed qualitatively using Amsler (1953) charts. In order to quantify the impact of metamorphopsia on acuity, we measured the effect of physical spatial distortion on letter recognition. Following earlier work showing that letter recognition is tuned to specific spatial frequency (SF) channels, we hypothesized that the effect of distortion might depend on the spatial scale of visual distortion just as it depends on the spatial scale of masking noise. Six normally sighted observers completed a 26 alternate forced choice (AFC) Sloan letter identification task at five different viewing distances, and the letters underwent different levels of spatial distortion. Distortion was controlled using spatially band-pass filtered noise that spatially remapped pixel locations. Noise was varied over five spatial frequencies and five magnitudes. Performance was modeled with logistic regression and worsened linearly with increasing distortion magnitude and decreasing letter size. We found that retinal SF affects distortion at midrange frequencies and can be explained with the tuning of a basic contrast sensitivity function, while object-centered distortion SF follows a similar pattern of letter object recognition sensitivity and is tuned to approximately three cycles per letter (CPL). The interaction between letter size and distortion makes acuity an unreliable outcome for metamorphopsia assessment.

Dagi LR, Tiedemann LM, Heidary G, Robson CD, Hall AM, Zurakowski D. Using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography to detect optic neuropathy in patients with craniosynostosis. J AAPOS 2014;18(6):543-9.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Detecting and monitoring optic neuropathy in patients with craniosynostosis is a clinical challenge due to limited cooperation, and subjective measures of visual function. The purpose of this study was to appraise the correlation of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measured by spectral-domain ocular coherence tomography (SD-OCT) with indication of optic neuropathy based on fundus examination. METHODS: The medical records of all patients with craniosynostosis presenting for ophthalmic evaluation during 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. The following data were abstracted from the record: diagnosis, historical evidence of elevated intracranial pressure, current ophthalmic evaluation and visual field results, and current peripapillary RNFL thickness. RESULTS: A total of 54 patients were included (mean age, 10.6 years [range, 2.4-33.8 years]). Thirteen (24%) had evidence of optic neuropathy based on current fundus examination. Of these, 10 (77%) demonstrated either peripapillary RNFL elevation and papilledema or depression with optic atrophy. Sensitivity for detecting optic atrophy was 88%; for papilledema, 60%; and for either form of optic neuropathy, 77%. Specificity was 94%, 90%, and 83%, respectively. Kappa agreement was substantial for optic atrophy (κ = 0.73) and moderate for papilledema (κ = 0.39) and for either form of optic neuropathy (κ = 0.54). Logistic regression indicated that peripapillary RNFL thickness was predictive of optic neuropathy (P < 0.001). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that RNFL thickness measurements were more sensitive at detecting optic neuropathy than visual field testing (likelihood ratio = 10.02; P = 0.002). Sensitivity and specificity of logMAR visual acuity in detecting optic neuropathy were 15% and 95%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Peripapillary RNFL thickness measured by SD-OCT provides adjunctive evidence for identifying optic neuropathy in patients with craniosynostosis and appears more sensitive at detecting optic atrophy than papilledema.

Uchino Y, Uchino M, Yokoi N, Dogru M, Kawashima M, Okada N, Inaba T, Tamaki S, Komuro A, Sonomura Y, Kato H, Argüeso P, Kinoshita S, Tsubota K. Alteration of tear mucin 5AC in office workers using visual display terminals: The Osaka Study. JAMA Ophthalmol 2014;132(8):985-92.Abstract
IMPORTANCE: There are limited reports on the relationship between mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) concentrations in tears, working hours, and the frequency of ocular symptoms in visual display terminal (VDT) users. This investigation evaluated these relationships among patients with dry eye disease (DED) and individuals serving as controls. OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between MUC5AC concentration in the tears of VDT users based on the diagnosis of DED and frequency of ocular symptoms. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: An institutional, cross-sectional study was conducted. Participants included 96 young and middle-aged Japanese office workers. Both eyes of 96 volunteers (60 men and 36 women) were studied. Participants working in a company that used VDTs completed questionnaires about their working hours and the frequency of ocular symptoms. Dry eye disease was diagnosed as definite or probable, or it was not present. Tear fluid was collected from the inferior fornix after instillation of 50 μL of sterilized saline. The MUC5AC concentration was normalized to tear protein content and expressed as MUC5AC (nanograms) per tear protein (milligrams). The differences in MUC5AC concentration between DED groups, between VDT working hours (short, intermediate, and long), and between symptomatic and asymptomatic groups were evaluated with 95% CIs based on nonparametric Hodges-Lehmann determination. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Ocular surface evaluation, prevalence of DED, and MUC5AC concentration. RESULTS: The prevalence of definite and probable DED was 9% (n = 9) and 57% (n = 55), respectively. The mean MUC5AC concentration was lower in the tears of VDT users with definite DED than in those with no DED (P = .02; Hodges-Lehmann estimator, -2.17; 95% CI, -4.67 to -0.30). The mean MUC5AC concentration in tears was lower in the group that worked longer hours than in the group that worked shorter hours (P = .049; estimated difference, -1.65; 95% CI, -3.12 to 0.00). Furthermore, MUC5AC concentration was lower in participants with symptomatic eye strain than in asymptomatic individuals (P = .001; estimated difference, -1.71; 95% CI, -2.86 to -0.63). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The data obtained in the present study suggest that office workers with prolonged VDT use, as well as those with an increased frequency of eye strain, have a low MUC5AC concentration in their tears. Furthermore, MUC5AC concentration in the tears of patients with DED may be lower than that in individuals without DED.
Kwon MY, Bao P, Millin R, Tjan BS. Radial-tangential anisotropy of crowding in the early visual areas. J Neurophysiol 2014;112(10):2413-22.Abstract
Crowding, the inability to recognize an individual object in clutter (Bouma H. Nature 226: 177-178, 1970), is considered a major impediment to object recognition in peripheral vision. Despite its significance, the cortical loci of crowding are not well understood. In particular, the role of the primary visual cortex (V1) remains unclear. Here we utilize a diagnostic feature of crowding to identify the earliest cortical locus of crowding. Controlling for other factors, radially arranged flankers induce more crowding than tangentially arranged ones (Toet A, Levi DM. Vision Res 32: 1349-1357, 1992). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the change in mean blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) response due to the addition of a middle letter between a pair of radially or tangentially arranged flankers. Consistent with the previous finding that crowding is associated with a reduced BOLD response [Millin R, Arman AC, Chung ST, Tjan BS. Cereb Cortex (July 5, 2013). doi:10.1093/cercor/bht159], we found that the BOLD signal evoked by the middle letter depended on the arrangement of the flankers: less BOLD response was associated with adding the middle letter between radially arranged flankers compared with adding it between tangentially arranged flankers. This anisotropy in BOLD response was present as early as V1 and remained significant in downstream areas. The effect was observed while subjects' attention was diverted away from the testing stimuli. Contrast detection threshold for the middle letter was unaffected by flanker arrangement, ruling out surround suppression of contrast response as a major factor in the observed BOLD anisotropy. Our findings support the view that V1 contributes to crowding.
Peacock ZS, Boulos T, Miller JB, Gardiner MF, Chuang S-K, Troulis MJ. Orbital fractures and ocular injury: is a postoperative ophthalmology examination necessary?. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2014;72(8):1533-40.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine whether formal ophthalmology evaluation is necessary after operative repair of orbital fractures and the association of an ocular injury to the severity of facial injury. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with orbital fractures undergoing operative repair from 2005 to 2013. Subjects were included if they had undergone reconstruction of orbital floor fractures and had data from pre- and postoperative examinations by the oral and maxillofacial surgery and ophthalmology services available. The predictor variables included the service performing the ocular examination (oral and maxillofacial surgery or ophthalmology) and the number of fractures present. The outcome variables were the presence of pre- and postoperative ocular injuries. Logistic regression models were used to determine the relationship of the fracture number to ocular injury. RESULTS: A total of 28 subjects had undergone repair of orbital fractures with preoperative and postoperative examinations performed by both services. Preoperative ocular injuries were found in 17 of the 28 subjects. Those detected by oral and maxillofacial surgeons were limited to changes in visual acuity, pupillary response, and extraocular muscle dysfunction in 11 subjects. Two subjects had new postoperative ocular findings that were considered minor and did not alter management. An increasing number of facial fractures was associated with an increased risk of ocular trauma. Those with 3 or more fractures had an odds ratio of 14.625 (95% confidence interval, 2.191 to 97.612, P = .006) for the presence of ocular injury. CONCLUSIONS: Operative repair of orbital fractures did not lead to new ocular injuries that would change the management. Thus, those without preoperative ocular injuries will not require a formal postoperative ophthalmology examination. However, the subjects with more fractures had an increased likelihood of ocular injuries.
Tang H, Buia C, Madhavan R, Crone NE, Madsen JR, Anderson WS, Kreiman G. Spatiotemporal dynamics underlying object completion in human ventral visual cortex. Neuron 2014;83(3):736-48.Abstract
Natural vision often involves recognizing objects from partial information. Recognition of objects from parts presents a significant challenge for theories of vision because it requires spatial integration and extrapolation from prior knowledge. Here we recorded intracranial field potentials of 113 visually selective electrodes from epilepsy patients in response to whole and partial objects. Responses along the ventral visual stream, particularly the inferior occipital and fusiform gyri, remained selective despite showing only 9%-25% of the object areas. However, these visually selective signals emerged ∼100 ms later for partial versus whole objects. These processing delays were particularly pronounced in higher visual areas within the ventral stream. This latency difference persisted when controlling for changes in contrast, signal amplitude, and the strength of selectivity. These results argue against a purely feedforward explanation of recognition from partial information, and provide spatiotemporal constraints on theories of object recognition that involve recurrent processing.
Cunningham CA, Wolfe JM. The role of object categories in hybrid visual and memory search. J Exp Psychol Gen 2014;143(4):1585-99.Abstract
In hybrid search, observers search for any of several possible targets in a visual display containing distracting items and, perhaps, a target. Wolfe (2012) found that response times (RTs) in such tasks increased linearly with increases in the number of items in the display. However, RT increased linearly with the log of the number of items in the memory set. In earlier work, all items in the memory set were unique instances (e.g., this apple in this pose). Typical real-world tasks involve more broadly defined sets of stimuli (e.g., any "apple" or, perhaps, "fruit"). The present experiments show how sets or categories of targets are handled in joint visual and memory search. In Experiment 1, searching for a digit among letters was not like searching for targets from a 10-item memory set, though searching for targets from an N-item memory set of arbitrary alphanumeric characters was like searching for targets from an N-item memory set of arbitrary objects. In Experiment 2, observers searched for any instance of N sets or categories held in memory. This hybrid search was harder than search for specific objects. However, memory search remained logarithmic. Experiment 3 illustrates the interaction of visual guidance and memory search when a subset of visual stimuli are drawn from a target category. Furthermore, we outline a conceptual model, supported by our results, defining the core components that would be necessary to support such categorical hybrid searches.
Marques LM, Lapenta OM, Merabet LB, Bolognini N, Boggio PS. Tuning and disrupting the brain-modulating the McGurk illusion with electrical stimulation. Front Hum Neurosci 2014;8:533.Abstract

In the so-called McGurk illusion, when the synchronized presentation of the visual stimulus /ga/ is paired with the auditory stimulus /ba/, people in general hear it as /da/. Multisensory integration processing underlying this illusion seems to occur within the Superior Temporal Sulcus (STS). Herein, we present evidence demonstrating that bilateral cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of this area can decrease the McGurk illusion-type responses. Additionally, we show that the manipulation of this audio-visual integrated output occurs irrespective of the number of eye-fixations on the mouth of the speaker. Bilateral anodal tDCS of the Parietal Cortex also modulates the illusion, but in the opposite manner, inducing more illusion-type responses. This is the first demonstration of using non-invasive brain stimulation to modulate multisensory speech perception in an illusory context (i.e., both increasing and decreasing illusion-type responses to a verbal audio-visual integration task). These findings provide clear evidence that both the superior temporal and parietal areas contribute to multisensory integration processing related to speech perception. Specifically, STS seems fundamental for the temporal synchronization and integration of auditory and visual inputs. For its part, posterior parietal cortex (PPC) may adjust the arrival of incoming audio and visual information to STS thereby enhancing their interaction in this latter area.

Sheldon S, Quint J, Hecht H, Bowers AR. The effect of central vision loss on perception of mutual gaze. Optom Vis Sci 2014;91(8):1000-11.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of central vision loss (CVL) on mutual gaze perception (knowing whether somebody else is looking at you), an important nonverbal visual cue in social interactions. METHODS: Twenty-three persons with CVL (visual acuity 20/50 to 20/200), 16 with a bilateral central scotoma and 7 without, and 23 age-matched control subjects completed a gaze perception task and a brief questionnaire. They adjusted the eyes of a life-size virtual head on a monitor at a 1-m distance until they either appeared to be looking straight at them or were at the extreme left/right or up/down positions at which the eyes still appeared to be looking toward them (defining the range of mutual gaze in the horizontal and vertical planes). RESULTS: The nonscotoma group did not differ from the control subjects in any gaze task measure. However, the gaze direction judgments of the scotoma group had significantly greater variability than those of the nonscotoma and control groups (p < 0.001). In addition, their mutual gaze range tended to be wider (p = 0.15), suggesting a more liberal judgment criterion. Contrast sensitivity was the strongest predictor of variability in gaze direction judgments followed by self-reported difficulties. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that mutual gaze perception is relatively robust to CVL. However, a follow-up study that simulates less-than-optimal viewing conditions of everyday social interactions is needed. The gaze perception task holds promise as a research tool for investigating the effects of vision impairment on mutual gaze judgments. Self-reported difficulty and contrast sensitivity were both independent predictors of gaze perception performance, suggesting that the task captured higher-order as well as low-level visual abilities.

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