Purpose: To evaluate a new approach for assessing small target contrast sensitivity and to demonstrate the effects of luminance and binocular viewing on visual acuity (VA) and contrast sensitivity (CS).
Methods: High and low contrast VA charts and two CS charts were used to measure VA and small-letter CS (20140 and 20150 Snellen equivalent) as a luminance and viewing status (monocular vs. binocular). A rear-illumination box provided chart luminance. All four charts were assessed with and without a mesopic filter in place under monocular and binocular conditions respectively.
Results: Reducing luminance produced a greater reduction in CS than VA. Also, reducing vision from binocular to monocular conditions produced a greater reduction in CS than VA.
Conclusions: The CS charts detect resolution loss that the VA charts miss. These CS charts under the same conditions may be useful to better quantify visual performance before and after refractive surgery. In addition, these CS charts may be useful for monitoring vision loss in corneal and macular edema, optic neuritis, and early cataracts.
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