Influence of Natural Hypobaric Hypoxic Conditions on Dynamic Visual Performance

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Background: Both dynamic and static visual performances are essential for safety and motoric performance at altitude. There is a lack of information regarding alterations in dynamic visual performance (DVP) in oxygen-reduced environments. The purpose of this study was to analyze DVP in natural hypoxic conditions in a group of young, healthy hikers.

Methods: DVP in four parafoveal subfields was analyzed using the computer-assisted Düsseldorf Test for Dynamic Vision. Measurements were performed twice at altitudes above 3500 m during an 8-day alpine hike.

Results: On day 5 (3647 m), no changes in DVP were detected. On day 6 (4554 m), however, we found a significant reduction in DVP in the superior parafoveal retinal subfield, partly representing the lower visual field. The observed changes did not correlate with oxygen saturation, hematocrit, or cardiovascular parameters. We found no interrelation between symptoms of acute mountain sickness and DVP at altitude.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that hiking at altitudes above 4500 m results in lower DVP in the visual field of healthy young people. The alteration might affect motor performance and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHigh Altitude Medicine & Biology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2020

ID: 5052769

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