Low spatial-contrast sensitivity in dry eyes

Cornea. 1998 Jul;17(4):376-9. doi: 10.1097/00003226-199807000-00006.


Purpose: Blurred vision in keratoconjunctivitis sicca eyes could be the result of the loss of the glossy surface of the tear film because of changes in composition or thickness irregularities. Spatial-contrast sensitivity in keratoconjunctivitis sicca and normal control eyes was tested before and after a tear substitute.

Methods: Three different groups of subjects were enrolled: one group of dry eyes with nonsignificant signs of epithelial disease (n = 12), the second group of dry eye positive with 1% Bengal rose staining of the cornea and of the conjunctiva (n = 18), and a third of normal eyes as control group (n = 15). In all the 45 eyes, spatial-contrast sensitivity was tested under the best correction by means of the Vistech Multivision Contrast Tester 8000 (Vistech Consultants, Dayton, OH, U.S.A.) before and 15 min after the instillation of a 0.4% Na-hyaluronate tear substitute without preservatives.

Results: A significant decrease of spatial-contrast sensitivity ranging from 35 to 70% was present in keratoconjunctivitis sicca eyes compared with a third group of age-matched normal eyes used as control. The spatial-contrast sensitivity was significantly lower also in the presence of preserved corneal surface. The addition of a tear substitute improved spatial contrast-sensitivity thresholds in all groups.

Conclusion: Tear-film disease can affect the transfer function of modulation of the ocular surface.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca / drug therapy
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Random Allocation
  • Tears / physiology


  • Ophthalmic Solutions