Reliabilities of alternate measures of contrast sensitivity functions

Am J Optom Physiol Opt. 1988 Jan;65(1):37-48. doi: 10.1097/00006324-198801000-00007.


In four studies, the comparability of several measures of contrast sensitivity functions (CSF's) as well as their individual test-retest reliabilities were determined with observers drawn from a college population. The relation between CSF scores obtained by different tests or by different psychophysical procedures with the same test was consistently low and frequently nonexistent. These low intertest reliabilities were found to be due to the lack of reliability of some of the individual tests. In particular, with both stationary and flickering gratings, the von Bekesy tracking procedure produced unacceptable variations in contrast estimates. Fortunately, the reliabilities of other procedures, particularly the simple adjustment method, were much higher (greater than 0.70). CSF scores obtained from the wallchart method exhibited insufficient variability among observers in the college sample to permit similar reliability estimates to be determined. Implications of the test characteristics are discussed for users of the CSF.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Flicker Fusion
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Male
  • Psychophysics
  • Vision Tests / methods*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Perception*