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Date of Award

2-1992

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Supervisor

Daphne Maurer

Abstract

I assessed the development of peripheral vision and the effects thereon of deprivation. First, I examined the visual field in 28 5-year-olds, 24 6-year-olds, 20 7-year-olds, and 16 adults using kinetic perimetry with the Goldmann perimeter and a 6.4' light of either 31.8 cd/m² or 318 cd/m². Five-year-olds saw as far superiorly as did the group of older subjects. But even at 7 years of age, children did not see as far temporally or inferiorly as did adults. When the 5-year-olds were retested at 7 years, their fields had grown and were as large as those of the original 7-year-olds. I also examined sensitivity across the field in 20 7-year-olds, 20 8-year-olds, 12 9-year-olds, and 20 adults using static perimetry with the Octopus perimeter and a 25.8' light which varied in intensity from 0 to 1000 asb. Sensitivity in the near, mid, and far periphery was adultlike by 7 years of age, with later development at 0° centrally. Children treated for dense and central cataracts were assessed identically except that the deprived eye was focused for the testing distance by a contact lens. Each deprived eye exhibited a restricted field, especially temporally, and a less sensitive field, especially at 0° centrally. More restricted fields were found for children with longer than with shorter deprivation, except superiorly, and for children with monocular than with binocular deprivation, at least for tests with the dim light. Less sensitive fields at 0° centrally were found for children with developmental than with congenital deprivation. Finally, only children with unilateral congenital deprivation exhibited larger losses at 20° nasally than at 30° temporally. Control experiments indicated that the losses of peripheral vision could be explained only partly by optical factors. The results indicate that the development of peripheral vision continues throughout childhood, at least for tests using a small stimulus. Deprivation affects peripheral vision, especially those parts of the field slowest to develop (e.g., the temporal field, 0° centrally, and the near nasal field). It is likely that the underlying pathways are not mature until after 5 years of age.

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