The relationship was studied between spatial contrast sensitivity function and type of pathology of the visual system. Two characteristics were found to be typical for amblyopia: there is a discrepancy between the high-frequency cut-off ('grating acuity') and the Snellen acuity; the contrast sensitivity is strongly dependent on the width of the stimulus. In optic nerve degeneration a decrease in contrast sensitivity is found at low spatial frequencies. Decreased contrast sensitivity at high spatial frequencies is atypical but occurs in those disorders associated with decreased Snellen visual acuity. From these findings a relationship is defined which enables spatial contrast sensitivity tests to be used to differentiate between amblyopia and optic nerve degeneration.
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