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A. R. Whatham, A. Ho, P. Sankaridurg, F. Conrad, D. Falk, P. Lazon, A. Martinez, B. Holden; Naso-Temporal Asymmetry in Contrast Sensitivity in the Peripheral Visual Field of Emmetropic Eyes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):3330.
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We investigated contrast sensitivity at nasal and temporal retinal locations in emmetropic children and adults, and best corrected contrast sensitivity at these locations in the adults.
Eight children (6 to 17 years) and six adults (18 to 40 years) monocularly viewed, at 30 degrees nasal and temporal eccentricity in a computer-based test, either a circular sinusoidal ring target of 2 cycles per degree or a luminance equivalent grey screen over two consecutive screen displays in a temporal 4 alternative forced choice task. Threshold was measured with a staircase procedure. Refractive error (RE) was measured at 30 degrees eccentricity, nasal and temporal retina, using the Shin-Nippon autorefractor. Peripheral contrast sensitivity was also measured in adult subjects at 30 degrees with optical correction of peripheral REs.
Under habitual viewing conditions contrast sensitivity (mean ± SE) was significantly better (p < 0.01) in the nasal retina than the temporal retina in both children (0.78 ± 0.09 vs 1.12 ± 0.07 log units) and adults (0.62 ± 0.05 vs 1.15 ± 0.07 log units). Spherical equivalent RE and J45 were not significantly different between nasal and temporal locations (p > 0.05) in children and adults. However J0 was significantly (p < 0.05) more negative (more against the rule astigmatism) in the temporal than nasal retina in both children and adults. Naso-temporal asymmetry in contrast sensitivity remained after correction of peripheral RE in adults (0.70 ± 0.06 vs 1.17 ± 0.10 log units).
The nasal retina is 2 to 4 times more sensitive to contrast than the temporal retina in children and adults. This has implications for understanding peripheral retinal circuitry, early functional loss in retinal diseases such as glaucoma, and eccentric fixation in the case of a central scotoma.
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