Reading performance and contrast sensitivity were measured in 30 subjects with low vision due to a variety of pathologies. The Pepper test was used to quantify reading rate and accuracy with the subject's own prescribed optical reading low vision aid. It was found that both reading rate and accuracy were repeatable measures. Reading rates were found to be correlated with contrast sensitivity at 0.5 c/deg (r = 0.62). Multiple regression analysis also showed that the best predictor of reading rate was contrast sensitivity at 0.5 c/deg and that no other components of the contrast sensitivity function helped to explain more of the variance. This indicates that primarily low spatial frequencies are necessary for reading with optical low vision aids, as has been found previously for reading with a close circuit TV system.