Purpose: To define normal values for the Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity test in different age groups.
Setting: University Eye Clinic of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.
Methods: Contrast sensitivity was measured with the Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity test in 87 persons (60 women and 27 men) with a mean age of 34.5 years +/- 20.8 (SD) (range 6 to 75 years). Results were studied by age group (years): 6 to 9, 10 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, and 60 and older. Of 163 eyes, both were healthy in 76 persons and 1 was healthy in 11. Study participants consisted of members of the staff of the Kuopio University Hospital Eye Clinic, medical students at the Kuopio University, and patients of the Strabismus and General Ophthalmology Units of the Eye Clinic and their accompanying persons. Two test distances were used: 1 m and 3 m. Eyes were tested individually; thereafter, the test was done binocularly.
Results: There were significant differences in logarithmic contrast sensitivity values among the age groups except on the test of the left eye at 1 m. The P values for the right eye at 1 m and 3 m, left eye at 1 m and 3 m, and both eyes at 1 m and 3 m were 0.003, 0.002, 0.19, 0.043, 0.037, and 0.003, respectively. The mean test results in 1 eye varied from 1.68 in the 60 year and older group to 1.84 in the 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 year groups. Binocularly, the variation was from 1.73 in the 40 year group to 1.99 in the 30 year group.
Conclusions: The Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity test is a quick and reliable method in a clinical setting. Normal values of the test can be of help in evaluating cataract patients or patients having refractive surgery.