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May 1987

Making Sense of Contrast Sensitivity Testing: Has Its Time Come?

Author Affiliations

Sacramento, Calif

Arch Ophthalmol. 1987;105(5):627-629. doi:10.1001/archopht.1987.01060050045033

Strolling through the exhibits at the 1986 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting, one could not help but be impressed by the number of devices being promoted for the measurement of contrast sensitivity function and glare disability. Handsomely suited salesmen spoke with glib authority about the validity, accuracy, and ease of operation of their products. The ophthalmic shopper could choose between computerized systems with sinusoidal gratings displayed on cathode ray tubes, wall charts, sleek automated glare testers, and hand-held interferometers with simulated glare sources. Advertising handouts pointed out that these are scientifically standardized testing systems to help the practitioner "justify and document the decision for cataract surgery." Needless to say, such claims arouse our interest, and at some of the booths potential customers literally queued up to see the merchandise. However, the practicing ophthalmologist must ask himself whether these devices have already become the new standard of diagnostic accuracy or whether

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