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Optom Vis Sci. 1993 Nov;70(11):896-902.

Evaluating visual function in cataract.

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Centre for Sight Enhancement, School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


This paper reviews recent research on the evaluation of visual function in cataract. Visual impairment in cataract is principally caused by increased intraocular forward light scatter. It is assumed that visual acuity (VA) measurements assess the impact of narrow angle light scatter. This also makes the measurement of high spatial frequency contrast sensitivity (CS) unnecessary. However, VA measurements alone are an inadequate assessment of visual impairment in some patients with cataract. In addition, it is suggested that a measurement of wide-angle light scatter is required. This can be evaluated directly using the van den Berg Straylightmeter, or indirectly using low spatial frequency CS or disability glare (DG) tests. The following are discussed: (1) the relative usefulness of these tests; (2) how they can be incorporated into the decision as to when to extract a cataract; and (3) the importance of considering binocular visual function.

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