Contrast sensitivity

Academic Article


  • Spatial contrast is a physical dimension referring to the light - dark transition of a border or an edge in an image that delineates the existence of a pattern or an object. Contrast sensitivity refers to a measure of how much contrast a person requires to see a target. Contrast-sensitivity measurements differ from acuity measurements; acuity is a measure of the spatial-resolving ability of the visual system under conditions of very high contrast, whereas contrast sensitivity is a measure of the threshold contrast for seeing a target. Today the most common methods for measuring contrast sensitivity are chart-based systems that can be mounted on the wall. These charts use test targets that are either sine-wave gratings or letters. Which specific chart a clinician selects should be guided by his or her purpose in using contrast sensitivity for patient management. In the research setting, chart selection should rest on ensuring that the scientific aims of the study are met. Contrast-sensitivity tests can provide useful information by revealing in some conditions visual loss not identifiable through visual acuity tests, by providing another method of monitoring treatments, and by providing a better understanding of visual performance problems faced by persons with vision impairment.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Owsley C
  • Start Page

  • 171
  • End Page

  • 177
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 2