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Eye movements during obstacle crossing in people with Parkinson's disease who fall: Influence of disease severity and visual contrast

Alcock, L., Galna, B.ORCID: 0000-0002-5890-1894, Foster-Thornton, G., Hausdorff, J., Lord, S. and Rochester, L. (2015) Eye movements during obstacle crossing in people with Parkinson's disease who fall: Influence of disease severity and visual contrast. In: 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP), 23-27 August, 2015, University of Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

[Poster]

INTRODUCTION: Negotiating obstacles is a complex task for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) due to a plethora of motor symptoms which worsen with disease progression. Visual deficits in PD impede safe obstacle negotiation and increase the risk of falls (van der Marck et al., 2014, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders). Increasing the saliency of obstacles may improve the interpretation and negotiation of complex environments.

AIMS: To quantify the association between eye movements and disease severity in PD participants who have previously fallen (PD-fallers) whilst negotiating obstacles of varying contrast.

METHODS: 18 PD-fallers were asked to walk over an obstacle (HxWxD,15x60x2cm) of low and high contrast. Eye movements (number of saccades and fixation duration) were obtained using a mobile eye-tracker (Dikablis, 25 Hz). Spearman correlations described the association between eye movements and disease severity (UPDRSIII). Adjusted significance was accepted at p < .01.

RESULTS: UPDRSIII was negatively associated with the number of saccades irrespective of obstacle contrast (rho = -.66,p = .003) and positively associated with fixation duration when obstacle contrast was high (rho = .69,p = .002).

DISCUSSION: Reduced visual exploration was associated with more severe PD motor symptoms. Improving obstacle saliency offers the potential for prolonging visual attention to task-relevant stimuli when motor deficits are high.

Item Type: Conference Item
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2015
Conference Website: http://ecvp.org/2015/
Other Information: Part of: Perception (2015), Volume: 44, Issue: 1_suppl, pp. 293-294, ISSN: 0301-0066. https://doi.org/10.1177/0301006615598674
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62986
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