A comparison of autorefractor performance

Optom Vis Sci. 2004 Jul;81(7):554-8. doi: 10.1097/00006324-200407000-00018.


Purpose: To compare the agreement between subjective refraction and autorefraction using two commercially available autorefractors.

Methods: Prospective data were collected for 190 subjects using either the Nidek ARK-700A (Fremont, CA) or the Topcon KR-8000 (Paramus, NJ) and subjective refraction (masked to autorefraction). Refractions were compared in terms of spherical equivalent using Bland-Altman limits of agreement and astigmatic vector difference using median and 95th percentile.

Results: The two groups were similar for age, gender, spherical equivalent, and astigmatic power. The differences in spherical equivalent between subjective and autorefraction were significantly different (mean +/- SD; Nidek, -0.03 +/- 0.36 D; Topcon, +0.11 +/- 0.34 D; analysis of variance, F = 7.84; p < 0.01). However, the 95% limits of agreement were similar: Nidek, -0.74 to +0.68 D; Topcon, -0.55 to +0.77 D. The median differences in astigmatic vector difference were also similar: Nidek, 0.27 D and Topcon, 0.25 D. However, the 95th percentile was 0.67 D for Nidek and 1.09 D for Topcon. There was a low frequency of large (>1.00 D) differences in spherical equivalent, 1.1% with each autorefractor. There were five cases with astigmatic vector difference >1 D, all with the Topcon KR-8000 (5.3%).

Conclusions: Both autorefractors show excellent agreement with subjective refraction. Despite a statistically significant difference in mean spherical equivalent (0.14 D), near identical limits of agreement (0.10 D difference) suggest clinical equivalence. Conversely, for astigmatism, despite similar median scores, major outliers were more likely with the Topcon, reflected in a 0.42 D larger 95th percentile, which suggests a small advantage for the Nidek for avoiding large astigmatic errors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Astigmatism / diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ophthalmology / instrumentation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refraction, Ocular
  • Refractive Errors / diagnosis*