Improving Vision in Adults with Macular Degeneration
“Improving Vision in Adults With Macular Degeneration”
The purpose of this study is to test whether a kind of brain stimulation called anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) can improve the ability of people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or juvenile macular degeneration (JMD) to read words presented to them on a computer screen. In addition, secondary measures of visual acuity will also be examined to determine whether brain stimulation can allow patients to resolve finer details of an image. The proposed treatment is the application of a-tDCS onto the participant's head, with brain stimulation aimed at Primary Visual Cortex toward the occipital pole. The investigators will test the ability of participants to read words before and after the application of stimulation. The difference between the pre and post tests when receiving active stimulation will be compared to the difference when receiving sham stimulation, because sham stimulation is not expected to improve reading beyond a placebo. The aim of the study is to examine the potential of brain stimulation as an effective treatment for macular degeneration that may be used in conjunction with more traditional eye-based interventions. The investigators hypothesize that the brain stimulation will enable higher performance in the reading task and secondary measures due to an increase in the cortical excitability of the stimulated brain cells.
Device - anodal tDCS Active Stimulation
a weak electric current is applied to the head through electrodes to affect the cortical excitability of the targeted cells in the brain.
Device - anodal tDCS Sham/Placebo Stimulation
The tDCS machine will be used as in active stimulation, except the electrical current will not be applied.
Improving Vision in Adults With Macular Degeneration, Study 1: the Effect of Brain Stimulation