City Research Online

Impact of symptomatic vitreous degeneration on photopic and mesopic contrast thresholds

Ankamah, E., Green-Gomez, M., Roche, W., Ng, E., Welge-Lüßen, U., Kaercher, T., Barbur, J. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-2187-5004 and Nolan, J. M. (2021). Impact of symptomatic vitreous degeneration on photopic and mesopic contrast thresholds. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, doi: 10.1080/08164622.2021.1981116


CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Contrast thresholds under photopic and mesopic luminance conditions are compromised in subjects with vitreous degeneration. A plausible explanation is needed for the visual discomfort expressed by patients suffering from symptomatic vitreous degeneration.

BACKGROUND: The current study investigates the effect of symptomatic vitreous degeneration on photopic and mesopic contrast at high spatial frequencies.

METHODS: An age-matched sample of 115 subjects, comprising 30 subjects with symptomatic vitreous floaters (cases) and 85 healthy subjects (controls), was included in this study. Visual acuity and flicker thresholds were measured for all participants. Photopic and mesopic functional contrast thresholds at 10 cycles per degree were measured for all participants to assess the effect of floaters on contrast. Further, to determine the effect of posterior vitreous detachment on contrast, the sample was divided into three groups: cases with posterior vitreous detachment (n = 12); cases without posterior vitreous detachment (n = 18); and controls (n = 85), and their contrast thresholds were compared.

RESULTS: Photopic and mesopic contrast thresholds were lower by 37.4% and 27.5%, respectively, when the cases were compared with the controls (p = 0.028 and p < 0.001 for photopic and mesopic contrast thresholds, respectively). Photopic contrast was lower by 64.0% in cases with posterior vitreous detachment compared with controls (p = 0.001). Compared with controls, mesopic contrast was lower in cases with posterior vitreous detachment and in cases without posterior vitreous detachment by 30.3% and 25.6%, respectively (p = 0.014 and p = 0.017 for cases with and without posterior vitreous detachment, respectively).

CONCLUSION: : Subjects with vitreous degeneration have diminished photopic and mesopic contrast thresholds compared with controls. This finding highlights the negative impact of vitreous degeneration on the quality of vision.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: Contrast sensitivity, floaters, Posterior vitreous detachment, Visual function, vitreous
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Optometry & Visual Science
Project Input:
Project IDFunder NameFunder ID
WD_2017_43Waterford Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Date available in CRO: 08 Dec 2021 09:39
Date deposited: 8 December 2021
Date of acceptance: 11 September 2021
Date of first online publication: 9 November 2021
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login