Measurement precision in a series of visual fields acquired by the standard and fast versions of the Swedish interactive thresholding algorithm: analysis of large-scale data from clinics

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Jan;133(1):74-80. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.4237.


Importance: Swedish Interactive Thresholding Algorithm (SITA) testing strategies for the Humphrey Field Analyzer have become a clinical standard. Measurements from SITA Fast are thought to be more variable than SITA Standard, yet some clinics routinely use SITA Fast because it is quicker.

Objective: To examine the measurement precision of the 2 SITA strategies across a range of sensitivities using a large number of visual field (VF) series from 4 glaucoma clinics in England.

Design, setting, and participants: Retrospective cohort study at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, England; Gloucestershire Eye Unit at Cheltenham General Hospital; Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, England; and the Calderdale and Huddersfield National Health Service Foundation Trust that included 66,974 Humphrey 24-2 SITA Standard VFs (10,124 eyes) and 19,819 Humphrey 24-2 SITA Fast VFs (3654 eyes) recorded between May 20, 1997, and September 20, 2012. Pointwise ordinary least squares linear regression of measured sensitivity over time was conducted using VF series of 1 random eye from each patient. Residuals from the regression were pooled according to fitted sensitivities. For each sensitivity (decibel) level, the standard deviation of the residuals was used to estimate measurement precision and were compared for SITA Standard and SITA Fast. Simulations of progression from different VF baselines were used to evaluate how different levels of precision would affect time to detect VF progression.

Main outcome and measure: Median years required to detect progression.

Results: Median (interquartile range) patient age, follow-up, and series lengths for SITA Standard were 64 (53-72) years, 6.0 (4.0-8.5) years, and 6 (4-8) VFs, respectively; for SITA Fast, medians (interquartile range) were 70 (61-78) years, 5.1 (3.2-7.3) years, and 5 (4-6) VFs. Measurement precision worsened as sensitivity decreased for both test strategies. In the 20 to 5 dB range, SITA Fast was less precise than SITA Standard; this difference was largest between 15 to 10 dB, where variability in both methods peaked. Translated to median time to detection, differences in measurement precision were negligible, suggesting minimal effects on time to detect progression.

Conclusions and relevance: Although SITA Standard is a more precise testing algorithm than SITA Fast at lower VF sensitivities, it is unlikely to make a sizeable difference to improving the time to detect VF progression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Visual Field Tests / standards*
  • Visual Fields*