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Eva Stifter, Stefan Sacu, Arnulf Thaler, Herbert Weghaupt; Contrast Acuity in Cataracts of Different Morphology and Association to Self-Reported Visual Function. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(12):5412-5422. doi: 10.1167/iovs.05-1564.
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purpose. To evaluate the relationship between contrast acuity at declining contrast levels and the type and density of lens opacity in cataract.
methods. Contrast acuity at declining contrast levels was determined with the Holladay Contrast Acuity Test, in relation to the type and density of age-related cataract in 180 patients with bilateral cataract and 20 control subjects with normal macular function. Cataracts were graded according to the Lens Opacities Classification System (LOCS) III of nuclear color (NC), nuclear opalescence (NO), cortical (C), and posterior subcapsular (P) cataract. Best-corrected visual acuity and near contrast acuity were determined in randomized order monocularly in both eyes. Visual difficulties in everyday life were evaluated, using the VF-14 questionnaire and the Cataract Symptom Score.
results. The contrast-dependent effect of cataract on contrast acuity was statistically significant (P < 0.001; two-way ANOVA). In the comparison of early, intermediate, and advanced nuclear, nuclear-cortical, and posterior subcapsular cataracts (PSCs), significantly reduced contrast acuity scores were found for the PSC groups (P < 0.001). Comparison of nuclear and nuclear-cortical cataracts showed the contrast acuity scores to be comparable at all contrast levels (P > 0.05). High correlation coefficients were found between the LOCS III P score and the contrast acuity measurements (r = 0.77–0.84; P < 0.001). In contrast, the correlation coefficients of the NO, NC, and C scores were considerably lower (r = 0.45–0.66; P < 0.001). High correlation coefficients were also found between the contrast acuity measurements and self-reported functional vision.
conclusions. The statistically significant, contrast-dependent effect of cataract on contrast acuity supports the clinical relevance of recording visual acuity at low contrast levels in patients with age-related cataract. Particularly, the severity of PSC has a strong influence on the impairment of contrast acuity. Contrast acuity corresponded closely to the self-reported visual difficulties in everyday life.
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