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A compact rarebit test for macular diseases
  1. Christina Winther,
  2. Lars Frisen*
  1. Sahlgren's University Hospital, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to: Lars Frisen, Clinical Neuroscience, Sahlgren's University Hospital, Neuro-ophthalmology, Blue Street 7:5, SU/S, Goteborg, SE-413 45, Sweden; lars.frisen{at}


Background: Rarebit testing implies probing for gaps in the neuro-retinal receptive field matrix, using bright micro dots 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 realized using a modified miniature data projector driven by a laptop computer. Its performance was assessed in normal subjects and in patients with age-related macular degeneration.

Results: Normal subjects (N = 49) produced test results closely similar to those reported for the original rarebit fovea test. The patient group (N = 12) performed significantly worse. Reproducibility was good. 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.

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