Mesopic contrast sensitivity function after excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy

J Refract Surg. Jan-Feb 2002;18(1):9-13.


Purpose: To evaluate contrast sensitivity under mesopic conditions in patients who had undergone uncomplicated excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) for myopia.

Methods: Monocular contrast sensitivity function was measured with the Stereo Optical F.A.C.T. chart in 26 patients who had received PRK using the Nidek EC-5000 excimer laser system. Mean preoperative refractive error was -6.23 +/- 1.69 D (range, -4.00 to -8.25 D); postoperatively, mean refractive error was -0.36 +/- 0.58 D (range, -0.75 to +0.50 D). Contrast sensitivity function was measured 6 months after surgery using four different chart luminances: 85, 5.0, 2.5, and 0.1 cd/m2, the first being a photopic level and the rest mesopic. A control group of eight emmetropic subjects was also studied to allow comparison of results for statistical purposes.

Results: Logarithmic values of contrast sensitivity at each spatial frequency were used for statistical analysis and normalized values were used for graphical representation. The results showed a statistically significant reduction (P < .01) in contrast sensitivity for the PRK patients in comparison with the control group under mesopic conditions for each spatial frequency tested (1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 18 c/deg), although no significant contrast sensitivity differences were observed between PRK and control groups at the photopic (85 cd/m2) level (P > .01 for all frequencies).

Conclusion: Photorefractive keratectomy can induce significant reductions in contrast sensitivity under mesopic conditions, even though the photopic contrast sensitivity function is normal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Excimer
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Myopia / physiopathology
  • Myopia / surgery*
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy / adverse effects*
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Visual Acuity