Comparison of Three Contrast Sensitivity Tests
Anja M. Palmowski-Wolfe; Kerstin Ulrich
University Eye Hospital Basel
Introduction: Tests of contrast sensitivity are not performed routinely in the clinic, although contrast is reduced in many conditions such as amblyopia or glaucoma. This may be due to perceived time constraints or unaffordability of equipment.
Methods: In 18 healthy subjects, aged 24-78 years, we compared contrast sensitivity functions with the FACT, the CSV 1000E and the Lea Symbols.
Results: All tests were equally comfortable for patients and took less than 5 minutes to perform (one eye). While all measure contrast sensitivity at 3, 6, 12 and 18 cpd, the FACT included 1.5 cpd. Linear mixed-effect models were performed. While there was no significant difference at low spatial frequencies, the Lea contrast sensitivity test showed a ceiling effect in that range, while the FACT showed a floor effect at high spatial frequencies.
Discussion: In contrast to Koefoed et al (2015) we did not find the CSV and FACT to be interchangeable and we did not find a ceiling effect in FACT or CSV at 18 cpd. This may be secondary to the wider age range in our study, as contrast sensitivity at intermediate and high spatial frequencies decreases with age. In agreement with Leat and Wegman (2004) the Lea gives no detailed determination of contrast sensitivity threshold in healthy children. We did not test children or adults with low vision or multiple disabilities where Leat and Wegman reported that Leat may give useful Information.
Conclusion: All three CS-Tests can be meaningfully applied in the clinic. Results are not interchangeable.
References: 1. Koefoed VF, Baste V, Roumes C, Høvding G. Contrast sensitivity measured by two different test methods in healthy, young adults with normal visual acuity. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh). 2015 Mar;93(2):154–61.
2. Leat SJ, Wegmann D. Clinical testing of contrast sensitivity in children: age-related norms and validity. Optom Vis Sci Off Publ Am Acad Optom. 2004 Apr;81(4):245–54.