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A compact rarebit test for macular diseases
  1. Christina Winther,
  2. Lars Frisén
  1. Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lars Frisén, Neuro-Ophthalmology Unit, Blue St 7:5, SU/S, SE-413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden; lars.frisen{at}


Background Rarebit testing implies probing for gaps in the neuro-retinal receptive field matrix, using bright microdots on a dark background. Previous reports have found rarebit testing useful for the detection of macular lesions. In its original implementation, the test requires darkroom facilities and a long test distance (2 m).

Methods A self-contained rarebit test device was realised using a modified miniature data projector driven by a laptop computer. Its performance was assessed in normal subjects and in patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Results Normal subjects (N=49) produced test results very similar to those reported for the original rarebit fovea test. The patient group (N=12) performed significantly worse. The reproducibility was good, and the mean test time was 142 s.

Conclusion The new test allows portable rarebit testing for neuro-macular damage, without the need for a darkroom. It may prove useful for screening for early age-related macular degeneration.

  • Central vision
  • vision test
  • rarebit
  • fovea
  • macular degeneration

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  • Funding Research Fund at Skaraborg Hospital, University of Gothenburg.

  • Competing interests Author LF holds a patent on the test device.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Regional ethics committees of Region Västra Götaland and University of Gothenburg.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.