Normative contrast sensitivity data for young children

Optom Vis Sci. 1990 Nov;67(11):826-32. doi: 10.1097/00006324-199011000-00007.


Contrast sensitivity (CS) was measured in children ages 3 to 7 years using the Vistech Contrast Sensitivity distance chart (VCTS 6500). The purpose of the study was to determine how effectively the technique could be used with young children and to establish normative data for this age group. Of 286 children participating in a vision screening, the contrast sensitivity function (CSF) was measurable on 241 (84%) under binocular conditions and 229 (80%) under both binocular and monocular conditions. The 219 binocular CSF's and 208 monocular CSF's obtained from visually normal children were used to establish normative data and then compared to similar data from 50 visually normal young adults. The results indicated that there is an effect of age between 3 and 7 years, children are significantly less sensitive than adults, and adult-like levels of CS are not yet reached at 7 years of age. In addition, although the children's mean contrast thresholds fell within the norms provided with the VCTS 6500, the variability in the children's CSF's precludes using the Vistech data for diagnostic purposes in the young. The normative data are presented to assist the clinician in evaluating CS in young children when using the VCTS 6500.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Vision Screening
  • Vision Tests / instrumentation
  • Vision Tests / methods
  • Vision, Binocular
  • Vision, Monocular