Introduction: To determine whether foveal light and dark adaptation are affected in glaucoma.
Methods: Case-control study with 23 glaucoma patients and 51 controls. Light and dark adaptation were measured twice. After 10 minutes pre-adaptation to 0.0032 cd/m2, the background luminance increased stepwise to 320 (5 log unit step) or 10,000 cd/m2 (6.5 log unit step) for 10 minutes, then it decreased back to 0.0032 cd/m2 for 30 minutes. Foveal contrast sensitivity [CS]) as a function of time was determined using a 1.15 degree increment. Time resolution of the experiments was 30 seconds. Multiple linear regression was used to analyse the effect of glaucoma on the CS plateau and adaptation time (time to reach the plateau minus 3 dB); analyses were adjusted for age and gender.
Results: After light adaptation to 320 and 10,000 cd/m2, glaucoma patients had a 0.22 (P<0.001) and 0.13 (P = 0.010) log unit lower CS plateau than controls, respectively. After dark adaptation, this difference was 0.21 (P = 0.018) and 0.30 (P<0.001) log unit, respectively. Light adaptation occurred too fast to determine an accurate light adaptation time. Dark adaptation times of glaucoma patients and controls were similar, for both the 5 (7.2 versus 5.5 minutes; P = 0.10) and the 6.5 (18.2 versus 16.6 minutes; P = 0.14) log unit step.
Conclusion: After a sudden increase or decrease in luminance, the logCS adaptation curves of glaucoma patients are shifted downwards compared to the curves of healthy subjects. Glaucoma patients have a lower CS plateau than healthy subjects, for both light and dark adaptation; dark adaptation times are similar.