A comparison of seven visual fatigue assessment techniques in three data-acquisition VDT tasks

Hum Factors. 1998 Dec;40(4):577-90. doi: 10.1518/001872098779649247.


We compared 7 methods of measuring visual fatigue--accommodation power, visual acuity, pupil diameter, critical fusion frequency (CFF), eye movement velocity, subjective rating of visual fatigue, and task performance--for their sensitivity to visual load. In the experiment, 10 participants performed a monitoring task at 2 viewing distances, read articles under 2 levels of screen contrast, and tracked visual targets at 2 different speeds. The same measurement techniques, excluding pupil diameter and eye movement velocity, were compared by extending the task time from 20 to 60 min with the same VDT tasks to test for possible improvement in sensitivity. The results indicated that sensitivities of accommodation power, visual acuity, and CFF were greatly improved by a longer task period, but these 3 measurement techniques did not distinguish among tasks. Pupil diameter, eye movement velocity, and subjective rating of visual fatigue were sensitive in differentiating tracking from reading and monitoring tasks. Eye movement velocity and subjective rating were sensitive to the changes in target velocity of the tracking task. Although task performance was not directly comparable to other measurement techniques, it helped to ensure that participants maintained the same performance level by devoting more resources to the high-load conditions. Actual or potential applications of this research include using some of these assessment techniques for the design of adaptive displays.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accommodation, Ocular
  • Adult
  • Asthenopia*
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Vision, Ocular*
  • Visual Acuity