Understanding and Reporting Visual Acuity Measurements in Publications of Clinical Research | Ophthalmology | JAMA Ophthalmology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
Sep 2011

Understanding and Reporting Visual Acuity Measurements in Publications of Clinical Research

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Universidade Nove de Julho, São Paulo, Brazil (Dr Lopes); and Retina Division, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland (Drs Zayit-Soudry, Moshiri, S. B. Bressler, and N. M. Bressler).

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(9):1228-1229. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.248

Visual acuity is an important measure for assessment of visual function. While there are many charts available to test visual acuity,1,2 there is lack of consistency3 in the methods of testing4 and methods of reporting5 visual acuity that may make comparisons difficult between visual outcomes among different published studies. In our opinion, most US ophthalmologists are familiar with the Snellen notation of visual acuity but have limited understanding of how other notations of visual acuity translate into Snellen notation. While some journals such as the American Journal of Ophthalmology provide charts to facilitate this translation, if the chart is not available at the time one is reading an article or listening to a presentation, understanding the level of visual acuity or changes in visual acuity may be limited.