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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Jun;47(6):2739-45.

The letter contrast sensitivity test: clinical evaluation of a new design.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.



To compare the reliability, validity, and responsiveness of the Mars Letter Contrast Sensitivity (CS) Test to the Pelli-Robson CS Chart.


One eye of 47 normal control subjects, 27 patients with open-angle glaucoma, and 17 with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was tested twice with the Mars test and twice with the Pelli-Robson test, in random order on separate days. In addition, 17 patients undergoing cataract surgery were tested, once before and once after surgery.


The mean Mars CS was 1.62 log CS (0.06 SD) for normal subjects aged 22 to 77 years, with significantly lower values in patients with glaucoma or AMD (P<0.001). Mars test-retest 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were +/-0.13, +/-0.19, and +/-0.24 log CS for normal, glaucoma, and AMD, respectively. In comparison, Pelli-Robson test-retest 95% LOA were +/-0.18, +/-0.19, and +/-0.33 log CS. The Spearman correlation between the Mars and Pelli-Robson tests was 0.83 (P<0.001). However, systematic differences were observed, particularly at the upper-normal end of the range, where Mars CS was lower than Pelli-Robson CS. After cataract surgery, Mars and Pelli-Robson effect size statistics were 0.92 and 0.88, respectively.


The results indicate the Mars test has test-retest reliability equal to or better than the Pelli-Robson test and comparable responsiveness. The strong correlation between the tests provides evidence the Mars test is valid. However, systematic differences indicate normative values are likely to be different for each test. The Mars Letter CS Test is a useful and practical alternative to the Pelli-Robson CS Chart.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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