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The SPARCS: a novel assessment of contrast sensitivity and its reliability in patients with corrected refractive error


Purpose To explore the reliability of the Spaeth/Richman Contrast Sensitivity (SPARCS) test and to assess the contrast sensitivity (CS) distribution among subjects with various refractive errors.

Methods Cross-sectional study. Ninety-three individuals (182 eyes) with varying amounts of refractive error were included in this study and divided into six groups according to their spherical equivalent. CS was evaluated using Pelli–Robson (PR) and SPARCS assessments. Each eye was tested twice with both measurements. Outcomes included the correlations of PR and SPARCS scores, the test–retest agreement of the two measurements and the limits of agreement between tests of CS measurements. The distribution of CS among the six groups was compared.

Results Pearson correlation analysis showed statistically significant correlations between SPARCS and PR scores (p<0.001). Reliability analysis showed that SPARCS had better test–retest agreement than PR, with SPARCS exhibiting a higher intraclass coefficient (ICC=0.635). Bland–Altman plots showed that the mean difference of measurements was close to 0 for both CS measurements. Among the six refractive groups, there were no significant differences in CS scores with either measurement.

Conclusions SPARCS appears to be a reliable assessment for CS. The difference in CS among myopes, emmetropes and hyperopes wearing their habitual correction was statistically insignificant in this study.

Clinical trial number NCT01300949, post results

  • Diagnostic tests/Investigation
  • Visual perception
  • Imaging

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