Cognitive and vision loss affects the topography of the attentional visual field

Shirin E. Hassan, Kathleen A. Turano, Beatriz Munoz, Cynthia Munro, Karen Bandeen Roche, Sheila K. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. The attentional visual field (AVF), which describes a person's ability to divide attention and extract visual information from the visual field (VF) within a glance, has been shown to be a good predictor of driving performance. Despite this, very little is known about the shape of the AVF and the factors that affect it. The purposes of this study were to describe the AVF in a large sample of older drivers and identify demographic, cognitive, and vision factors associated with AVF performance and shape. METHODS. Registered drivers between 67 and 87 years of age, residing in Greater Salisbury, Maryland, were recruited to participate in the study. Participants underwent a battery of visual and cognitive assessments and completed various questionnaires for demographics, medical history, and history of depression. The AVF was assessed using a divided-attention protocol within the central 20° radius along the four principal meridians. The shape of the AVF was classified as either symmetric or one of two asymmetric shape profiles. RESULTS. Symmetrically shaped AVFs were found in just 34% of participants. AVF performance was significantly better along the horizontal (15.3°) than the vertical (11.3°) meridian (P < 0.05). After adjusting for AVF area, we found that poorer cognitive and vision performance was associated with a symmetric AVF shape. Overall AVF extent was predicted by vision and cognitive measures as well as various demographic factors. CONCLUSIONS. Good vision and cognitive ability appear to be associated with having an asymmetric as opposed to a symmetric AVF shape profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4672-4678
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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