Effects of yellow filters on visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and reading under conditions of forward light scatter

  • Frank Eperjesi
  • Lillian Evangelica Agelis



Yellow filters are sometimes recommended to people with low vision. Our aim was investigate the effects of three commercial yellow filters on visual acuity and contrast sensitivity (with and without glare) and reading (without glare) under conditions of forward light scatter (FLS).


Fifty-five healthy subjects were assessed with Corning Photochromic Filters (CPFs) 450, 511 and 527 and a filter producing FLS. The effects on log MAR visual acuity, Pelli–Robson contrast sensitivity with and without glare, and reading (measured with MNRead charts) without glare were determined.


Statistically significant differences were found between the overall effect of glare and between CPFs for visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. A gradual decline in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and reading with increasing CPF absorption was noted.


Effects of CPF450, 511, 527 on visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and reading under conditions of FLS were negative but not clinically significant.


Contrast sensitivity Forward light scatter Glare Reading Visual acuity Yellow filters 


  1. 1.
    Rubin GS, Adamsons IA, Stark WJ (1993) Comparison of acuity, contrast sensitivity, and disability glare before and after cataract surgery. Arch Ophthalmol 111:56–61PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Superstein R, Boyaner D, Overbury O, Collin C (1997) Glare disability and contrast sensitivity before and after cataract surgery. J Cataract Refract Surg 23:248–253PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chua BE, Mitchell P, Cumming RG (2004) Effects of cataract type and location on visual function: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Eye 18:765–772PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Trokel S (1962) The physical basis for transparency of the crystalline lens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1:493–500Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Philipson B (1969) Light scattering in lenses with experimental cataract. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh) 47:1089–1101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Paulsson LE, Sjostrand J (1980) Contrast sensitivity in the presence of a glare light. Theoretical concepts and preliminary clinical studies. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 19:401–406PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elliott DB, Hurst MA, Weatherill J (1991) Comparing clinical tests of visual loss in cataract patients using a quantification of forward light scatter. Eye 5:601–606PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    de Waard PW, IJspeert JK, van den Berg TJ, de Jong PT (1992) Intraocular light scattering in age-related cataracts. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 33:618–625PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Benedek GB (1971) Theory of transparency of the eye. Appl Optics 10:459–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Elliott DB (1993) Evaluating visual function in cataract. Optom Vis Sci 70:896–902PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hennelly ML, Barbur JL, Edgar DF, Woodward EG (1998) The effect of age on the light scattering characteristics of the eye. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 18:197–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wolffsohn JS, Cochrane AL, Khoo H, Yoshimitsu Y, Wu S (2000) Contrast is enhanced by yellow lenses because of selective reduction of short-wavelength light. Optom Vis Sci 77:73–81PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Elliott DB, Bullimore MA, Patla AE, Whitaker D (1996) Effect of a cataract simulation on clinical and real world vision. Br J Ophthalmol 80:799–804PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Stiles WS (1929) The scattering theory of the effect of glare on the brightness difference threshold. Proc R Soc Lon (Biol) 105:131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fry GA (1954) A re-evaluation of the scatter theory of glare. Illum Eng 49:98–102Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wooten BR, Geri GA (1987) Psychophysical determination of intraocular light scatter as a function of wavelength. Vision Res 27:1291–1298PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Whitaker D, Steen R, Elliot DB (1993) Light scatter in the normal young, elderly and cataractous eye demonstrates little wavelength dependency. Optom Vis Sci 70:963–968PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Coppens JE, Franssen L, van den Berg TJ (2006) Wavelength dependence of intraocular straylight. Exp Eye Res 82:688–692PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Van den Berg TJ, IJspeert JK, de Waard PW (1991) Dependence of intraocular straylight on pigmentation and light transmission through the ocular wall. Vision Res 31:1361–1367PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Van den Berg TJ, van Rijn LJ, Michael R, Heine C, Coeckelbergh T, Nischler C, Wilhelm H, Grabner G, Emesz M, Barraquer RI, Coppens JE, Franssen L (2007) Straylight effects with aging and lens extraction. Am J Ophthalmol 144:358–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tupper B, Miller D, Miller R (1985) The effect of a 550nm cutoff filter on the vision of cataract patients. Ann Ophthalmol 17:67–72PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zigman S (1990) Vision enhancement using a short wavelength light-absorbing filter. Optom Vis Sci 67:100–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zigman S (1992) Light filters to improve vision. Optom Vis Sci 69:325–328PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Vision Advantage International Inc. viewed April 10 2010,
  25. 25.
    Rutkowsky WF (1987) Light filtering lenses as an alternative to cataract surgery. J Am Optom Assoc 58:640–641PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Pensyl CD (1993) Matching patient needs with the features of photochromic filters. J Vis Rehab 7:10–12Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gormezano S, Stelmack J (2000) Efficient, effective clinical protocols for the prescription of selective absorption filters. In: Stuen C, Arditi A, Horowitz A, Lang MA, Rosenthal B, Seidman K (eds) Vision ’99: Vision rehabilitation: assessment, intervention and outcomes. Swets and Zeitlinger, New York, pp 206–207Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Fine EM, Peli E, Reeves A (1997) Simulated cataract does not reduce the benefit of RSVP. Vision Res 37:2639–2647PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zlatkova MB, Coulter EE, Anderson RST (2006) The effect of simulated lens yellowing and opacification on blue-on-yellow acuity and contrast sensitivity. Vision Res 46:2432–2442PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bailey IL, Lovie JE (1976) New design principles for visual acuity letter charts. Am J Optom Physiol Opt 53:740–745PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tunnacliffe A (1989) A new clinical contrast sensitivity test. Optician 197:13–18Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Elliott DB, Sanderson K, Conkey A (1990) The reliability of the Pelli–Robson contrast sensitivity chart. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 10:21–4PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ahn SJ, Legge GE, Luebker A (1995) Printed cards for measuring low vision reading speed. Vision Res 35:1939–1944PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Legge GE, Ross JA, Luebker A, LaMay JM (1989) Psychophysics of reading VIII. The Minnesota Low-Vision Reading Test. Optom Vis Sci 66:843–853PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Armstrong RA, Eperjesi F, Gilmartin B (2002) The application of analysis of variance (ANOVA) to different experimental designs in optometry. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 22:248–256PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Eperjesi F, Fowler CW, Evans BJ (2000) Do tinted lenses or filters improve visual performance in low vision? A review of the literature. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 22:68–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Bailey IL, Kelty K, Pittler G, Raasch T, Roberts G (1978) Typoscopes and yellow filters for cataract patients. Low Vis Abstr 4:2–6Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hazel CA, Elliott DB (2002) The dependency of logMAR visual acuity measurements on chart design and scoring rule. Optom Vis Sci 79:788–92PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Leat S, North RV, Bryson H (1990) Do long wavelength pass filters improve low vision performance? Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 10:219–224PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Rosenblum YZ, Zak PP, Ostrovsky MA, Smolyaninova IL, Bora EV, Dyadina NN, Aliyev AGD (2000) Spectral filters in low-vision correction. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 20:335–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Miyajima H, Katsumi O, Wang GJ (1992) Contrast visual acuities in cataract patients. I. Comparison with normal subjects. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh) 70:44–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    de Wit GC, Franssen L, Coppens JE, van den Berg TJ (2006) Simulating the straylight effects of cataracts. J Cataract Refract Surg 32:294–300PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ophthalmic Research Group, School of Life and Health SciencesAston UniversityBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations