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Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2015 Jul 21;1:2055217315596184. doi: 10.1177/2055217315596184. eCollection 2015 Jan-Dec.

Introducing a new method to assess vision: Computer-adaptive contrast-sensitivity testing predicts visual functioning better than charts in multiple sclerosis patients.

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Institute of Neuroimmunology and MS (INIMS), University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.
Adaptive Sensory Technology, Lübeck, Germany.



Impaired low-contrast visual acuity (LCVA) is common in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases. Its assessment is often limited to selected contrasts, for example, 2.5% or 1.25%. Computerized adaptive testing with the quick contrast-sensitivity function (qCSF) method allows assessment across expanded contrast and spatial frequency ranges.


The objective of this article is to compare qCSF with high- and low-contrast charts and patient-reported visual function.


We enrolled 131 consecutive MS patients (mean age 39.6 years) to assess high-contrast visual acuity (HCVA) at 30 cm and 5 m, low-contrast vision with Sloan charts at 2.5% and 1.25%, qCSF and the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEIVFQ). Associations between the different measures were estimated with linear regression models corrected for age, gender and multiple testing.


The association between qCSF and Sloan charts (R2 = 0.68) was higher than with HCVA (5 m: R2 = 0.5; 30 cm: R2 = 0.41). The highest association with NEIVFQ subscales was observed for qCSF (R2 0.20-0.57), while Sloan charts were not associated with any NEIVFQ subscale after correction for multiple testing.


The qCSF is a promising new outcome for low-contrast vision in MS and other neurological diseases. Here we show a closer link to patient-reported visual function than standard low- and high-contrast charts.


Outcome measurement; Sloan charts; contrast vision; multiple sclerosis; visual acuity

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