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Renfeng Xu, Daniel Gil, Mohammed Dibas, William Hare, Arthur Bradley; The Effect of Light Level and Small Pupils on Presbyopic Reading Performance. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(13):5656-5664. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-20008.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To examine the impact of small pupils and light levels on reading performance of distance-corrected presbyopes. To determine whether small pupils would enable presbyopes to read at near even at low light levels.
To establish the lower range of text luminances, we quantified the space-averaged luminance of text in nine different artificially lit interior environments, and examined the impact of the text characters on space-averaged luminance of electronic and printed displays. Distance and near reading speeds of 20 presbyopes (ages 40–60 years) were measured while viewing through artificial pupils (diameters 1–4.5 mm), natural pupils, or with a multifocal contact lens. Space-averaged text luminance levels varied from 0.14 to 140 cd/m2 (including the range of measured environmental text luminances).
Adding black text to a white computer display or paper reduces luminance by approximately 15% to 31%, and the lowest encountered environmental text luminance was approximately 2 to 3 cd/m2. For both distance and near reading performance, the 2- to 3-mm small pupil yielded the best overall reading acuity for space-averaged text light levels ≥ 2 cd/m2. The 2- to 3-mm artificial pupils and the multifocal contact lenses both enabled maximum or near-maximum reading speeds for 0.5 logMAR characters at distance and near, but with natural pupils, reading speeds were significantly reduced at near.
Although photon noise at low luminance reduces the visual benefits of small pupils, the benefits of 2- to 3-mm artificial pupils are sufficient to enable >80% of distance-corrected presbyopes to read proficiently at near, even at the lowest text luminances found in interior environments.
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