Purpose: Investigating difficulties during activities of daily living is a fundamental first step for the development of vision-related intervention and rehabilitation strategies. One way to do this is through visual impairment simulations. The aim of this review is to synthesize and assess the types of simulation methods that have been used to simulate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in normally sighted participants, during activities of daily living (e.g., reading, cleaning, and cooking).
Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search in five databases and a critical analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of various AMD simulation methods (following PRISMA guidelines). The review focuses on the suitability of each method for investigating activities of daily living, an assessment of clinical validation procedures, and an evaluation of the adaptation periods for participants.
Results: Nineteen studies met the criteria for inclusion. Contact lenses, computer manipulations, gaze contingent displays, and simulation glasses were the main forms of AMD simulation identified. The use of validation and adaptation procedures were reported in approximately two-thirds and half of studies, respectively.
Conclusions: Synthesis of the methodology demonstrated that the choice of simulation has been, and should continue to be, guided by the nature of the study. While simulations may never completely replicate vision loss experienced during AMD, consistency in simulation methodology is critical for generating realistic behavioral responses under vision impairment simulation and limiting the influence of confounding factors. Researchers could also come to a consensus regarding the length and form of adaptation by exploring what is an adequate amount of time and type of training required to acclimatize participants to vision impairment simulations.