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Concept: Visual impairment


Myopia is a common cause of vision loss, with uncorrected myopia the leading cause of distance vision impairment globally. Individual studies show variations in the prevalence of myopia and high myopia between regions and ethnic groups, and there continues to be uncertainty regarding increasing prevalence of myopia.

Concepts: Ophthalmology, Anarchism, Myopia, Visual impairment


This systematic review gives an overview of foveal crowding (the inability to recognize objects due to surrounding nearby contours in foveal vision) and possible interventions. Foveal crowding can have a major effect on reading rate and deciphering small pieces of information from busy visual scenes. Three specific groups experience more foveal crowding than adults with normal vision (NV): 1) children with NV, 2) visually impaired (VI) children and adults and 3) children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI). The extent and magnitude of foveal crowding as well as interventions aimed at reducing crowding were investigated in this review. The twofold goal of this review is : [A] to compare foveal crowding in children with NV, VI children and adults and CVI children and [B] to compare interventions to reduce crowding.

Concepts: Learning, Perception, Enzyme, Foveal, Ophthalmology, Cortical visual impairment, Disability, Visual impairment


To examine and interpret the variation in the incidence of blindness and sight impairment in England by PCT, as reported by the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI).

Concepts: Cortical visual impairment, Blindness, Visual impairment


Background: Refractive errors (RE) are the most common cause of avoidable visual impairment in children. But benefits of visual aids, which are means for correcting RE, depend on the compliance of visual aids by end users. Aim: To study the compliance of spectacle wear among rural school children in Pune district as part of the sarva siksha abhiyan (education for all scheme) after 6 - 12 months of providing free spectacles. Settings and Design: Cross-sectional follow-up study of rural secondary school children in western India. Materials and Methods: The students were examined by a team of optometrists who collected the demographic details, observed if the child was wearing the spectacles, and performed an ocular examination. The students were asked to give reasons for non-wear in a closed-ended questionnaire. Statistical Analysis: Chi-square test and multiple logistic regression used for data analysis. Results: Of the 2312 students who were dispensed spectacles in 2009, 1018 were re-examined in 2010. 523 students (51.4%) were female, the mean age was 12.1 years 300 (29.5%) were wearing their spectacles, 492 (68.5%) students claimed to have them at home while 211 (29.4%) reported not having them at all. Compliance of spectacle wear was positively associated to the magnitude of refractive error (P < 0.001), father's education (P = 0.016), female sex (P = 0.029) and negatively associated to the visual acuity of the better eye (P < 0.001) and area of residence (P < 0.0001). Of those that were examined and found to be myopic (N = 499), 220 (44%) wore their spectacles to examination. Factors associated with compliance to spectacle usage in the myopic population included increasing refractive error (P < 0.001), worsening visual acuity (P < 0.001), and higher academic performance (P < 0.001). The causes for not wearing spectacles were 'lost spectacles' 67(9.3%), 'broken spectacles' 125 (17.4%), 'forgot spectacles at home' 117 (16.3%), 'uses spectacles sometimes' 109 (15.2%), 'teased about spectacles' 142 (19.8%) and 'do not like the spectacles' 86 (12%). Conclusion: Spectacle compliance was poor amongst school children in rural Pune; many having significant vision loss as a result.

Concepts: Visual impairment, Refraction, Regression analysis, Visual acuity, Glasses, Ophthalmology, Myopia, Refractive error


The number of individuals with visual impairment (VI) and blindness is increasing in the United States and around the globe as a result of shifting demographics and aging populations. Tracking the number and characteristics of individuals with VI and blindness is especially important given the negative effect of these conditions on physical and mental health.

Concepts: Demographic economics, Photography, U.S. state, Poverty in the United States, Massachusetts, Visual impairment, United States, Demography


Myopia is the most common vision disorder and the leading cause of visual impairment worldwide. However, gene variants identified to date explain less than 10% of the variance in refractive error, leaving the majority of heritability unexplained (“missing heritability”). Previously, we reported that expression of APLP2 was strongly associated with myopia in a primate model. Here, we found that low-frequency variants near the 5'-end of APLP2 were associated with refractive error in a prospective UK birth cohort (n = 3,819 children; top SNP rs188663068, p = 5.0 × 10-4) and a CREAM consortium panel (n = 45,756 adults; top SNP rs7127037, p = 6.6 × 10-3). These variants showed evidence of differential effect on childhood longitudinal refractive error trajectories depending on time spent reading (gene x time spent reading x age interaction, p = 4.0 × 10-3). Furthermore, Aplp2 knockout mice developed high degrees of hyperopia (+11.5 ± 2.2 D, p < 1.0 × 10-4) compared to both heterozygous (-0.8 ± 2.0 D, p < 1.0 × 10-4) and wild-type (+0.3 ± 2.2 D, p < 1.0 × 10-4) littermates and exhibited a dose-dependent reduction in susceptibility to environmentally induced myopia (F(2, 33) = 191.0, p < 1.0 × 10-4). This phenotype was associated with reduced contrast sensitivity (F(12, 120) = 3.6, p = 1.5 × 10-4) and changes in the electrophysiological properties of retinal amacrine cells, which expressed Aplp2. This work identifies APLP2 as one of the "missing" myopia genes, demonstrating the importance of a low-frequency gene variant in the development of human myopia. It also demonstrates an important role for APLP2 in refractive development in mice and humans, suggesting a high level of evolutionary conservation of the signaling pathways underlying refractive eye development.

Concepts: Vision, Refractive error, Evolution, Genetics, Visual impairment, Gene expression, Myopia, Gene


We verified whether a stochastic resonance paradigm (SR), with random interference (“noise”) added in optimal amounts, improves the detection of sub-threshold visual information by subjects with retinal disorder and impaired vision as it does in the normally sighted. Six levels of dynamic, zero-mean Gaussian noise were added to each pixel of images (13 contrast levels) in which alphabet characters were displayed against a uniform gray background. Images were presented with contrast below the subjective threshold to 14 visually impaired subjects (age: 22-53 yrs.). The fraction of recognized letters varied between 0 and 0.3 at baseline and increased in all subjects when noise was added in optimal amounts; peak recognition ranged between 0.2 and 0.8 at noise sigmas between 6 and 30 grey scale values (GSV) and decreased in all subjects at noise levels with sigma above 30 GSV. The results replicate in the visually impaired the facilitation of visual information processing with images presented in SR paradigms that has been documented in sighted subjects. The effect was obtained with low-level image manipulation and application appears readily possible: it would enhance the efficiency of today vision-improving aids and help in the development of the visual prostheses hopefully available in the future.

Concepts: Linguistics, Normal distribution, Retina, Noise, Vision, Disability, Myopia, Visual impairment


The adverse impact of visual impairment and blindness and correlations with socioeconomic position are known. Understanding of the effect of the substantially more common near-normal vision (mild impairment) and associations with social position as well as health and life chances is limited.

Concepts: UK Biobank, United Kingdom, English language, Visual impairment, Sociology


Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES) is virtual environment software designed to improve real world navigation skills in the blind. Using only audio based cues and set within the context of a video game metaphor, users gather relevant spatial information regarding a building’s layout. This allows the user to develop an accurate spatial cognitive map of a large-scale three-dimensional space that can be manipulated for the purposes of a real indoor navigation task. After game play, participants are then assessed on their ability to navigate within the target physical building represented in the game. Preliminary results suggest that early blind users were able to acquire relevant information regarding the spatial layout of a previously unfamiliar building as indexed by their performance on a series of navigation tasks. These tasks included path finding through the virtual and physical building, as well as a series of drop off tasks. We find that the immersive and highly interactive nature of the AbES software appears to greatly engage the blind user to actively explore the virtual environment. Applications of this approach may extend to larger populations of visually impaired individuals.

Concepts: Navigation, The Blind, Virtual reality, Play, Dimension, Visual impairment, Video game


To assess prevalence and causes of blindness and vision impairment in high-income regions and in Central/Eastern Europe in 1990 and 2010.

Concepts: Hungary, Europe, Low vision, Central Europe, Vision loss, Blindness, Eastern Europe, Visual impairment