The Impact of Progressive Visual Field Constriction on Reading Ability in an Inherited Retinal Degeneration.
Jolly JK., Couldridge-Smith CE., Xue K., MacLaren RE.
BACKGROUND: The ability to read is an important factor in the quality of life. Choroideremia is an inherited retinal degeneration presenting with gradual, progressive constriction of the central visual field, providing a useful disease model to investigate the impact of the visual field on reading ability. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to provide practical guidance on the usefulness of measuring reading ability in patients. METHOD: The Radner Reading Test was administered to 33 patients (65 eyes with choroideremia). To quantify the residual retinal area, the patients underwent microperimetry and imaging. The visual angle subtended by the largest letter read by each subject was calculated using Emsley's Model Eye. RESULTS: A minimum of 1 letter must be seen to allow the eye to read, with preservation of foveal sensitivity. The relationship between reading speed and acuity varies with the visual field. The reading speed is higher in eyes with an intact fovea (p < 0.001 right eye, p = 0.06 left eye). Qualitative analysis of the direction of the intact retina did not indicate any directional impact on measurements. CONCLUSIONS: In order to read, an eye must have enough retinal width close to the fovea to see at least 1 full letter. Direction of print does not impact the ability to read, allowing results from different languages to be combined in clinical trials.