Purpose: To compare the higher-order aberrations of the oculus (whole eye) and cornea in eyes with mild cortical or nuclear cataract and to estimate the effect of ocular higher-order aberrations on the loss of contrast sensitivity using wavefront analysis.
Design: Observational case series.
Methods: Six eyes of four patients with mild nuclear cataract, 18 eyes of 14 patients with mild cortical cataract, and nine eyes of nine normal patients were examined. Wavefront aberrations of the oculus and cornea for central 6 mm diameter were measured using the Hartmann-Shack (HS) aberrometer. Higher-order aberrations were calculated with Zernike polynomials up to sixth order. The relationship between average lens density (ALD) measured by the Scheimpflug camera and the ocular total higher-order aberration (OTHA) was investigated. The relationship between contrast sensitivity (CS) and the OTHA or ALD was also examined.
Results: The OTHA was significantly larger in cataracts compared with normal subjects, while corneal total higher-order aberration did not differ between cataracts and normal subjects. The polarity of spherical aberration was negative in all eyes with nuclear cataract while positive in all eyes with cortical cataract. The correlation between ALD and OTHA was not significant in eyes with cataracts. The CS highly correlated with OTHA while it moderately correlated with ALD.
Conclusions: The HS aberrometer is useful to objectively evaluate the deterioration of images in eyes with mild cataract and it revealed that the polarity of spherical aberration was different between nuclear and cortical cataract. It was also suggested that in mild nuclear or cortical cataract, not only light scattering, but also optical aberration of the lens contributes to the loss of contrast sensitivity.