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Detection of early-stage age related macular degeneration with a compact rarebit test
  1. Roy de Kinkelder1,
  2. Ton G van Leeuwen1,2,
  3. Frank D Verbraak1,3
  1. 1Department of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine and Faculty of Science and Technology, Biomedical Photonic Imaging Group, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Frank D Verbraak, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 22700, Amsterdam, NL-1100 DE, The Netherlands; f.d.verbraak{at}

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The most frequently used method for testing foveal function is a visual acuity (VA) measurement using letter charts. However, with less than two thirds of the optic nerve axons a decimal VA of 20/20 can still be achieved.1 Therefore, this test cannot be regarded as sensitive to low-degree degradation of the foveal function. Furthermore, the test targets that are used are many times larger than the retinal receptive units.2 To address this shortcoming a so-called rarebit test has been developed. In this test, microdot stimuli that match the size of the receptive units of the retina, are briefly presented, and may therefore be more sensitive to detect early damage at the level of these receptive fields.2 These tests can be applied in the central and peripheral vision. They describe the functional state of the neural matrix of the retina. Rarebit fovea testing has diagnostic potential in conditions like age related macular degeneration (AMD). A …

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  • Contributors All authors have full control of all primary data and they agree to allow BJO to review their data upon request. All authors made substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. All authors drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors gave final approval of the version to be published.

  • Funding This work is supported by the IOP photonics devices programme managed by the technology foundations STW and AgentschapNL (IPD067774).

  • Competing interests There is no commercial relationship between the authors and the manufacturers of the tested devices.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee Academic Medical Center.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.