Microperimetry Reliability Assessed From Fixation Performance


Purpose: Microperimetry provides an accurate assessment of central retinal sensitivity due to its fundus-tracking capability, but it has limited reliability indicators. One method currently employed, fixation loss, samples the optic nerve blind spot for positive responses; however, it is unclear if these responses arise from unintentional button presses or from tracking failure leading to stimuli misplacement. We investigated the relationship between blind spot scotoma positive responses (termed scotoma responses) and fixation.

Methods: Part 1 of the study involved a custom grid of 181 points centered on the optic nerve that was constructed to map physiological blind spots in primary and simulated eccentric fixation positions. Scotoma responses and the 63% and 95% fixation bivariate contour ellipse areas (BCEA63 and BCEA95) were analyzed. In Part 2, fixation data from controls and patients with retinal diseases (234 eyes from 118 patients) were collected.

Results: Part 1, a linear mixed model of 32 control participants, demonstrated significant (P < 0.001) correlation between scotoma responses and BCEA95. In Part 2, the upper 95% confidence intervals for BCEA95 were 3.7 deg2 for controls, 27.6 deg2 for choroideremia, 23.1 deg2 for typical rod–cone dystrophies, 21.4 deg2 for Stargardt disease, and 111.3 deg2 for age-related macular degeneration. Incorporating all pathology groups into an overall statistic resulted in an upper limit BCEA95 = 29.6 deg2.

Conclusions: Microperimetry reliability is significantly correlated to fixation performance, and BCEA95 provides a surrogate marker for test accuracy. Examinations of healthy individuals and patients with retinal disease are deemed unreliable if BCEA95 > 4 deg2 and BCEA95 > 30 deg2, respectively.

Translational Vision Science & Technology June 2021, Vol.10, 12. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.12.5.21

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