In order to test the validity of contrast sensitivity (CS) measurements in the early detection of visual impairment in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), we have evaluated the findings of CS in patients with drusen and normal visual acuity (17 eyes), as well as in the contralateral 'healthy' eye of patients with AMD (14 eyes). We also tried to estimate the validity of CS measurements in the prognosis of neovascular macular degeneration. The CS findings were evaluated in comparison to the findings of CS measurements in age-matched controls (32 eyes). CS loss is a constant finding in eyes with drusen and normal visual acuity. CS loss is more important at the middle range and high spatial frequencies. CS loss and degree of CS loss are not prognostic indicators of neovascular macular degeneration.