City Research Online

The effect of non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration on face recognition performance

Taylor, D. J., Smith, N. D., Binns, A. M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8621-498X & Crabb, D. P. ORCID: 0000-0001-8754-3902 (2018). The effect of non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration on face recognition performance. Graefes Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 256(4), pp. 815-821. doi: 10.1007/s00417-017-3879-3


PURPOSE: There is a well-established research base surrounding face recognition in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, much of this existing research does not differentiate between results obtained for 'wet' AMD and 'dry' AMD. Here, we test the hypothesis that face recognition performance is worse in patients with dry AMD compared with visually healthy peers. METHODS: Patients (>60 years of age, logMAR binocular visual acuity 0.7 or better) with dry AMD of varying severity and visually healthy age-related peers (controls) completed a modified version of the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT). Percentage of correctly identified faces was used as an outcome measure for performance for each participant. A 90% normative reference limit was generated from the distribution of CFMT scores recorded in the visually healthy controls. Scores for AMD participants were then specifically compared to this limit, and comparisons between average scores in the AMD severity groups were investigated. RESULTS: Thirty patients (median [interquartile range] age of 76 [70, 79] years) and 34 controls (median age of 70 [64, 75] years) were examined. Four, seventeen and nine patients were classified as having early, intermediate and late AMD (geographic atrophy) respectively. Five (17%) patients recorded a face recognition performance worse than the 90% limit (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.46) set by controls; four of these had geographic atrophy. Patients with geographic atrophy identified fewer faces on average (±SD) (61% ± 22%) than those with early and intermediate AMD (75 ± 11%) and controls (74% ± 11%). CONCLUSIONS: People with dry AMD may not suffer from problems with face recognition until the disease is in its later stages; those with late AMD (geographic atrophy) are likely to have difficulty recognising faces. The results from this study should influence the management and expectations of patients with dry AMD in both community practice and hospital clinics.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher Keywords: Low vision, Face recognition, Age-related macular degeneration, Geographicatrophy, Visualfunction, Activities of daily living
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (673kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login