May 2007
Volume 48, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2007
Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity in Human Infants
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • A. G. Oliveira
    Psicologia Experimental, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • M. F. Costa
    Psicologia Experimental, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • D. F. Ventura
    Psicologia Experimental, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships A.G. Oliveira, None; M.F. Costa, None; D.F. Ventura, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support Temático Fapesp, Capes, CNPq
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2007, Vol.48, 3760. doi:
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      A. G. Oliveira, M. F. Costa, D. F. Ventura; Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity in Human Infants. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):3760.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose:: To evaluate the development of the visual acuity (VA) and of the luminance spatial contrast sensitivity function (SCSF) of preterm infants with no visual complaints and of term infants throughout the first year of life.

Methods:: 41 healthy infants (25 males), 20 preterm and 21 term, were referred by the University Hospital of the University of São Paulo (HU-USP). Preterms were infants born at and up to the 36th week of gestation. All infants underwent a complete clinical and neurological examination. Fourteen volunteers represented the adult control group. VA and luminance SCSFs were measured using the NuDiva version of the sweep-VEP system with a high-resolution video monitor. Vertical square wave gratings with 80% of contrast that varied in spatial frequency from 0.2 to 30 cpd were used to evaluate VA and vertical sine wave gratings gratings of 0.2, 0.8, 2.0, and 4.0 cycles per degree (cpd) that varied in contrast from 100 to 0.7% were used to evaluate SCSF. Subjects were tested at 4, 6 and 12 months of age.

Results:: There was no statistical difference (p>.05) between preterm and term infant VA and SCSF in any of the evaluated ages (Mann-Whitney rank sum U-test). Comparing the 12 month infants with the adult group there was a statistical difference in the VA (p< 0.001) and in the SCSF measured at 4.0cpd (P< 0.001). The contrast sensitivity peak occurred between 0.8 and 2.0 cpd at four months of age. At the sixth month the peak moved to 2.0 cpd and it was displaced to a higher spatial frequency (4.0 cpd) at 12 months, where it coincided with the adult SCS peak.

Conclusions:: The development courses of both the AV and of the SCSF of preterm and term infants are very similar during the first year of life. However, both functions are less developed compared to adults. Neither the reduced gestational time nor the longer visual experience of preterms, compared to term infants, had an effect upon the development of SCSF.

Keywords: contrast sensitivity • visual acuity • electrophysiology: clinical 

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