Clinical Application of Infrared-Light Microperimetry in the Assessment of Scotopic-Eye Sensitivity

Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2020 Jul 7;9(8):7. doi: 10.1167/tvst.9.8.7. eCollection 2020 Jul.


Purpose: The eye can see pulsed near-infrared (IR) radiation with the color corresponding to half of the wavelength used. Until recently, the technology required for measuring IR vision was confined to optical laboratories and was not studied clinically. The current investigation sought to determine the values for IR thresholds in a healthy population.

Methods: IR-light threshold was measured in 45 healthy participants, aged from 21 to 70 years. Ten patients with retinal pathology were included for comparison. Ocular media clarity was assessed with a straylight parameter. The sensitivity of dark-adapted eyes (expressed on a 0-26 dB scale) were tested using an IR microperimeter. The device consists of a femtosecond laser that emits 1045 nm light to project a stimulus at the retina.

Results: All participants were able to see the IR stimulus, which they perceived as green, and all performed the test. Measurements at seven locations revealed lower sensitivity at the fovea (15.5 dB) than in paracentral regions (18.2 dB). We noted a significant straylight increase with age. Although, in our study population, it was only a slight, -0.18 dB decline per decade of the average IR-sensitivity. The retinal-pathology group demonstrated impaired sensitivity to IR light.

Conclusions: We showed that IR-light sensitivity does not significantly decrease with age despite a straylight increase. A reference level for the IR threshold was proposed. The application of IR-light microperimetry can be extended to the assessment of retinal pathology.

Translational relevance: IR-light microperimetry could be applied clinically to measure visual function.

Keywords: IR threshold; aging; scotopic sensitivity; straylight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fovea Centralis
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retina*
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Visual Field Tests*
  • Young Adult