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Retina. 2001;21(6):619-26.

Chromatic contrast thresholds as a prognostic test for visual improvement after macular hole surgery: color vision and macular hole surgery outcome.

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Vision Research Department, Sussex Eye Hospital, Brighton, United Kingdom.



To evaluate the relationship between preoperative chromatic contrast thresholds, postoperative visual acuities (VA), and visual improvement after macular hole surgery.


A consecutive series of patients with Stage II to IV macular holes was studied before macular hole surgery. Preoperative chromatic contrast thresholds, VA, and reading acuity were analyzed in relation to the postoperative visual function. The chromatic contrast thresholds were measured using a computerized cathode ray tube-based system along red-green and tritan confusion axes.


Preoperative and postoperative chromatic contrast thresholds were elevated significantly in affected eyes (P < 0.001). Preoperative VA showed a strong correlation with postoperative VA (r = 0.66, P < 0.001) but a weak correlation with visual improvement (r = -0.33, P = 0.03). Red-green contrast threshold correlated strongly with both the distance visual improvement (r = -0.77, P < 0.001) and reading visual improvement (r = -0.61, P < 0.001). Tritan contrast threshold, however, showed a slightly weaker correlation (distance: r = -0.63, P < 0.001; reading: r = -0.47, P < 0.005).


These results suggest that chromatic contrast thresholds, especially the red-green contrast threshold, represent a better prognostic guide for visual improvement after macular hole surgery than VA measurement.

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