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Predicting individual contrast sensitivity functions from acuity and letter contrast sensitivity measurements.

  • Author(s): Thurman, Steven M;
  • Davey, Pinakin Gunvant;
  • McCray, Kaydee Lynn;
  • Paronian, Violeta;
  • Seitz, Aaron R
  • et al.

Published Web Location

Contrast sensitivity (CS) is widely used as a measure of visual function in both basic research and clinical evaluation. There is conflicting evidence on the extent to which measuring the full contrast sensitivity function (CSF) offers more functionally relevant information than a single measurement from an optotype CS test, such as the Pelli-Robson chart. Here we examine the relationship between functional CSF parameters and other measures of visual function, and establish a framework for predicting individual CSFs with effectively a zero-parameter model that shifts a standard-shaped template CSF horizontally and vertically according to independent measurements of high contrast acuity and letter CS, respectively. This method was evaluated for three different CSF tests: a chart test (CSV-1000), a computerized sine-wave test (M&S Sine Test), and a recently developed adaptive test (quick CSF). Subjects were 43 individuals with healthy vision or impairment too mild to be considered low vision (acuity range of -0.3 to 0.34 logMAR). While each test demands a slightly different normative template, results show that individual subject CSFs can be predicted with roughly the same precision as test-retest repeatability, confirming that individuals predominantly differ in terms of peak CS and peak spatial frequency. In fact, these parameters were sufficiently related to empirical measurements of acuity and letter CS to permit accurate estimation of the entire CSF of any individual with a deterministic model (zero free parameters). These results demonstrate that in many cases, measuring the full CSF may provide little additional information beyond letter acuity and contrast sensitivity.

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