Colour contrast sensitivity in patients with age-related Bruch's membrane changes

Ger J Ophthalmol. 1995 Nov;4(6):336-41.


Patients with bilateral drusen as a manifestation of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may have minor psychophysically detectable visual defects in the presence of normal visual acuity. In a variety of retinal diseases, one of the earliest changes in visual processing is an impairment of normal colour vision. This study was undertaken to evaluate colour vision deficits in patients with macular drusen and to determine whether changes in colour contrast sensitivity may occur over time. In a prospective study, colour vision in 84 eyes of 84 patients aged 55-84 years (mean, 68.89 +/- 6.23 years) with macular drusen and clear media was tested using a computer graphics technique. A total of 47 patients were reviewed annually for up to 2 years and measurements were obtained at annual intervals. Colour contrasts sensitivity along protan, deutan and tritan colour confusion lines was determined at a foveal and a parafoveal region. The sensitivity to all stimuli showed large variations between patients. The thresholds for foveal blue-colour contrast sensitivity were elevated and increased during the review period. In contrast, there was no significant change in sensitivity with time for red and green at the foveal or parafoveal region. Tritan threshold changes suggest that the SW cone-receptor population is more susceptible to damage associated with early age-related macular disease than are red or green cones. The results indicate that blue colour contrast sensitivity determined over time may serve as a measure to assess the progression of age-related maculopathy prior to the manifestation of atrophic or exudative macular lesions associated with visual loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bruch Membrane / pathology
  • Bruch Membrane / physiopathology*
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Color Perception Tests
  • Color Vision Defects / diagnosis
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Drusen / complications
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology