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Fading and feedback in the modification of visual acuity


Two experiments assessing the modification of visual acuity by fading plus feedback procedures are presented. The training procedure involved a gradual increase of the distance myopic subjects could accurately discriminate letters requiring a minimum of 20/20 vision at approximately 23 feet. In Experiment I experimental and matched control groups of mildly to moderately myopic subjects were compared on repeated Ortho-rater examinations of visual acuity. The experimental group showed a significant improvement relative to the control group who received no training. Multiple-baseline across-stimuli designs were used in Experiment II to evaluate training effects for another group of subjects with moderate to severe myopia. Two measures of acuity were obtained. Accuracy of discrimination of letters at various preselected distances was determined each session while Ortho-rater examinations were given periodically throughout training. Changes in discrimination accuracy over sessions appeared to be related to fading for three of the four subjects, and Ortho-rater acuity changes were observed for each subject. Some short-term maintenance of improved vision was evident on both acuity measures.

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This research was supported in part by Auburn Grants-in-Aid to Drs. Epstein and Hannay.

Portions of Experiment I were presented to the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, San Francisco, December 1975, and portions of Experiment II were presented to the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Atlanta, December 1977.

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Epstein, L.H., Collins, F.L., Hannay, H.J. et al. Fading and feedback in the modification of visual acuity. J Behav Med 1, 273–287 (1978).

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Key words

  • feedback training
  • myopia
  • visual acuity