Mobility Enhancement & Vision Rehabilitation

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.
Isayama T, Chen Y, Kono M, Fabre E, Slavsky M, DeGrip WJ, Ma J-X, Crouch RK, Makino CL. Coexpression of three opsins in cone photoreceptors of the salamander Ambystoma tigrinum. J Comp Neurol 2014;522(10):2249-65.Abstract
Although more than one type of visual opsin is present in the retina of most vertebrates, it was thought that each type of photoreceptor expresses only one opsin. However, evidence has accumulated that some photoreceptors contain more than one opsin, in many cases as a result of a developmental transition from the expression of one opsin to another. The salamander UV-sensitive (UV) cone is particularly notable because it contains three opsins (Makino and Dodd [1996] J Gen Physiol 108:27-34). Two opsin types are expressed at levels more than 100 times lower than the level of the primary opsin. Here, immunohistochemical experiments identified the primary component as a UV cone opsin and the two minor components as the short wavelength-sensitive (S) and long wavelength-sensitive (L) cone opsins. Based on single-cell recordings of 156 photoreceptors, the presence of three components in UV cones of hatchlings and terrestrial adults ruled out a developmental transition. There was no evidence for multiple opsin types within rods or S cones, but immunohistochemistry and partial bleaching in conjunction with single-cell recording revealed that both single and double L cones contained low levels of short wavelength-sensitive pigments in addition to the main L visual pigment. These results raise the possibility that coexpression of multiple opsins in other vertebrates was overlooked because a minor component absorbing at short wavelengths was masked by the main visual pigment or because the expression level of a component absorbing at long wavelengths was exceedingly low.
Maiello G, Chessa M, Solari F, Bex PJ. Simulated disparity and peripheral blur interact during binocular fusion. J Vis 2014;14(8):13.Abstract
We have developed a low-cost, practical gaze-contingent display in which natural images are presented to the observer with dioptric blur and stereoscopic disparity that are dependent on the three-dimensional structure of natural scenes. Our system simulates a distribution of retinal blur and depth similar to that experienced in real-world viewing conditions by emmetropic observers. We implemented the system using light-field photographs taken with a plenoptic camera which supports digital refocusing anywhere in the images. We coupled this capability with an eye-tracking system and stereoscopic rendering. With this display, we examine how the time course of binocular fusion depends on depth cues from blur and stereoscopic disparity in naturalistic images. Our results show that disparity and peripheral blur interact to modify eye-movement behavior and facilitate binocular fusion, and the greatest benefit was gained by observers who struggled most to achieve fusion. Even though plenoptic images do not replicate an individual’s aberrations, the results demonstrate that a naturalistic distribution of depth-dependent blur may improve 3-D virtual reality, and that interruptions of this pattern (e.g., with intraocular lenses) which flatten the distribution of retinal blur may adversely affect binocular fusion.
Draschkow D, Wolfe JM, Võ MLH. Seek and you shall remember: scene semantics interact with visual search to build better memories. J Vis 2014;14(8):10.Abstract

Memorizing critical objects and their locations is an essential part of everyday life. In the present study, incidental encoding of objects in naturalistic scenes during search was compared to explicit memorization of those scenes. To investigate if prior knowledge of scene structure influences these two types of encoding differently, we used meaningless arrays of objects as well as objects in real-world, semantically meaningful images. Surprisingly, when participants were asked to recall scenes, their memory performance was markedly better for searched objects than for objects they had explicitly tried to memorize, even though participants in the search condition were not explicitly asked to memorize objects. This finding held true even when objects were observed for an equal amount of time in both conditions. Critically, the recall benefit for searched over memorized objects in scenes was eliminated when objects were presented on uniform, non-scene backgrounds rather than in a full scene context. Thus, scene semantics not only help us search for objects in naturalistic scenes, but appear to produce a representation that supports our memory for those objects beyond intentional memorization.

Luo G, Garaas T, Pomplun M. Salient stimulus attracts focus of peri-saccadic mislocalization. Vision Res 2014;100:93-8.Abstract
Visual localization during saccadic eye movements is prone to error. Flashes shortly before and after the onset of saccades are usually perceived to shift towards the saccade target, creating a "compression" pattern. Typically, the saccade landing point coincides with a salient saccade target. We investigated whether the mislocalization focus follows the actual saccade landing point or a salient stimulus. Subjects made saccades to either a target or a memorized location without target. In some conditions, another salient marker was presented between the initial fixation and the saccade landing point. The experiments were conducted on both black and picture backgrounds. The results show that: (a) when a saccade target or a marker (spatially separated from the saccade landing point) was present, the compression pattern of mislocalization was significantly stronger than in conditions without them, for both black and picture background conditions, and (b) the mislocalization focus tended towards the salient stimulus regardless of whether it was the saccade target or the marker. Our results suggest that a salient stimulus presented in the scene may have an attracting effect and therefore contribute to the non-uniformity of saccadic mislocalization of a probing flash.
Dartt DA, Masli S. Conjunctival epithelial and goblet cell function in chronic inflammation and ocular allergic inflammation. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2014;14(5):464-70.Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Although conjunctival goblet cells are a major cell type in ocular mucosa, their responses during ocular allergy are largely unexplored. This review summarizes the recent findings that provide key insights into the mechanisms by which their function and survival are altered during chronic inflammatory responses, including ocular allergy. RECENT FINDINGS: Conjunctiva represents a major component of the ocular mucosa that harbors specialized lymphoid tissue. Exposure of mucin-secreting goblet cells to allergic and inflammatory mediators released by the local innate and adaptive immune cells modulates proliferation, secretory function, and cell survival. Allergic mediators like histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins directly stimulate goblet cell mucin secretion and consistently increase goblet cell proliferation. Goblet cell mucin secretion is also detectable in a murine model of allergic conjunctivitis. Additionally, primary goblet cell cultures allow evaluation of various inflammatory cytokines with respect to changes in goblet cell mucin secretion, proliferation, and apoptosis. These findings in combination with the preclinical mouse models help understand the goblet cell responses and their modulation during chronic inflammatory diseases, including ocular allergy. SUMMARY: Recent findings related to conjunctival goblet cells provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches, involving modulation of goblet cell mucin production, to improve treatment of ocular allergies.

Bowers AR, Anastasio JR, Sheldon SS, O'Connor MG, Hollis AM, Howe PD, Horowitz TS. Can we improve clinical prediction of at-risk older drivers?. Accid Anal Prev 2013;59:537-47.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To conduct a pilot study to evaluate the predictive value of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test (MoCA) and a brief test of multiple object tracking (MOT) relative to other tests of cognition and attention in identifying at-risk older drivers, and to determine which combination of tests provided the best overall prediction. METHODS: Forty-seven currently licensed drivers (58-95 years), primarily from a clinical driving evaluation program, participated. Their performance was measured on: (1) a screening test battery, comprising MoCA, MOT, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Trail-Making Test, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and Useful Field of View (UFOV) and (2) a standardized road test. RESULTS: Eighteen participants were rated at-risk on the road test. UFOV subtest 2 was the best single predictor with an area under the curve (AUC) of .84. Neither MoCA nor MOT was a better predictor of the at-risk outcome than either MMSE or UFOV, respectively. The best four-test combination (MMSE, UFOV subtest 2, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity) was able to identify at-risk drivers with 95% specificity and 80% sensitivity (.91 AUC). CONCLUSIONS: Although the best four-test combination was much better than a single test in identifying at-risk drivers, there is still much work to do in this field to establish test batteries that have both high sensitivity and specificity.