The effect of early cataracts on glare and contrast sensitivity. A pilot study

Arch Ophthalmol. 1992 Aug;110(8):1081-6. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1992.01080200061025.


To establish the effect of cataracts on glare and contrast sensitivity, we graded type and amount of lens opacity in 110 subjects who underwent two glare tests (Brightness Acuity Tester and Berkeley glare test) and two contrast sensitivity tests (a sine-wave test and Pelli-Robson chart). Twenty-seven subjects (25%) had clear lenses (mean visual acuity of 20/20) and 83 subjects (75%) had early lens opacities (mean visual acuity of 20/40) in otherwise normal eyes. Multiple regression techniques were used to control for the effects of age and visual acuity. Glare test scores were significantly lower for nearly all patients with lens opacities than for patients with clear lenses and were the lowest for patients with lenses with posterior subcapsular opacity. Contrast sensitivity scores were lower for all patients with lens opacities than for patients with clear lenses at high frequencies only; all lens opacity groups scores similarly with each other. These results indicate reduced visual function among patients with cataracts whose visual acuity is only minimally impaired.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cataract / physiopathology*
  • Color
  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Humans
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline
  • Lens Cortex, Crystalline
  • Lens Nucleus, Crystalline / pathology
  • Light*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Scattering, Radiation*
  • Vision Tests
  • Visual Acuity