Date: 11 Aug 2007

Measuring contrast sensitivity in normal subjects with OPTEC® 6500: influence of age and glare

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The purpose of this study was to develop age-related curves for contrast sensitivity (CS) in normal subjects under day and night conditions with and without glare.


Sixty-one healthy eyes from 61 subjects were measured with the OPTEC® 6500 P under day and night conditions (luminance levels: 85 cd/m2 and 3.0 cd/m2 with and without glare; spatial frequencies: 1.5, 3, 6, 12 and 18 cycles/degree). A reliability analysis with five repeated measurements of six persons on 4 days was performed to examine the repeatability. The influence of age on contrast sensitivity, forward and backward scatter was examined by means of linear regression.


Contrast sensitivity was significantly reduced under night conditions with glare, whereas glare had less influence under daylight illumination. Mean reliability coefficients are 0.87 (day), 0.77 (day with glare), 0.69 (night) and 0.81 (night with glare), which suggests sufficient retest reliability of the device. Regression analyses showed a highly significant influence of age, but the variance of the measurement values is not explained by age alone. The coefficients of determination for the regression of area under the log contrast sensitivity function (AULCSF) on age are 0.33 (photopic), 0.34 (photopic with glare), 0.29 (mesopic) and 0.36 (mesopic with glare, p < 0.0001 in all cases).


A significant relationship between age, CS and scatter was confirmed in our study. The results provide baseline values for the examination of patients with different diseases in which contrast sensitivity is impaired (such as glaucoma, cataracts and amblyopia) and might be useful in studies of roadworthiness or in investigation of the impact of intraocular lenses.

Supported by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, Germany (SFB 539).