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Arathy Kartha, Roksana Sadeghi, Michael P. Barry, Chris Bradley, Paul Gibson, Avi Caspi, Arup Roy, Gislin Dagnelie; Prosthetic Visual Performance Using a Disparity-Based Distance-Filtering System. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(12):27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.12.27.
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At present, Argus II is the only retinal prosthesis approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that induces visual percepts in people who are blind from end-stage outer retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa. It has been shown to work well in sparse, high-contrast settings, but in daily practice visual performance with the device is likely to be hampered by the cognitive load presented by a cluttered real-world environment. In this study, we investigated the effect of a stereo-disparity–based distance-filtering system on four experienced Argus II users for a range of tasks: object localization, depth discrimination, orientation and size discrimination, and people detection and direction of motion.
Functional vision was assessed in a semicontrolled setup using unfiltered (normal camera) and distance-filtered (stereo camera) imagery. All tasks were forced choice designs and an extension of signal detection theory to latent (unobservable) variables was used to analyze the data, allowing estimation of person ability (person measures) and task difficulty (item measures) on the same axis.
All subjects performed better with the distance filter compared with the unfiltered image (P < 0.001 on all tasks except localization).
Our results show that depth filtering using a disparity-based algorithm has significant benefits for people with Argus II implants.
The improvement in functional vision with the distance filter found in this study may have an important impact on vision rehabilitation and quality of life for people with visual prostheses and ultra low vision.
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