• 39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference - March 18 - 22,2024 at the Anaheim Marriott

    The Premier AT Conference

38th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Visual Search Deficits in People with MD: A VR Study

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - 11:20 AM PST  
Grand CD  
MD (Macular Degeneration) is caused by changes to the macula, hindering predominantly the central vision which is used when looking straight at something. However, MD does not affect the peripheral vision, and people with MD can perceive the environment to a certain extent, generally lacking of clarity and detail compared to central vision. This condition is often very disabling in everyday life and it can be very frightening for the person experiencing it. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Virtual Reality (VR) technologies with integrated eye-tracking can be used to assess and to train people‚Äôs skills to search for objects in space when central vision is degraded. Eye-tracking has not been used with people with visual impairments in VR and as such we are exploring the efficiency of using such measures for future research. For this study, 20 participants (fully sighted and with MD) were recruited and were asked to spatially detect and identify 3D objects within a custom-designed VR space. They were asked to find these objects while continuous real-time eye gaze movement and fixation tracking were enabled together with the tracking of behavioural and verbal responses. Results show a deficit in visual detection and discrimination in people with MD that can be explained by altered visual search patterns as measured by eye tracking. These findings will help us understand visual search deficits in people with MD and provide opportunity for training and education.  
  • Disability Specific
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Entertainment & Recreation
  • Media & Publishing
  • Research & Development
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
This study is investigating how current commercial VR and eye tracking technologies could be utilised and how they perform on people with MD. We discuss observations, testimonials, findings and suggestions on how a VR headset can be used efficiently.  
Primary Topic
Blind/Low Vision  
Secondary Topics
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Gaming & Interactive Entertainment
  • Research
  • Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), & Cross/Mixed Reality (XR)
Session Type
General Track  


  • Theo Kempapidis
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