Differential visual acuity – A new approach to measuring visual acuity

TitleDifferential visual acuity – A new approach to measuring visual acuity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLeat, S., C. Yakobchuk-Stanger, and E. Irving
JournalJournal of Optometry
KeywordsPaediatric optometry, Recognition visual acuity, Resolution visual acuity, Visual acuity, Visual acuity testing

Background: A novel type of acuity measurement, which we refer to as ‘differential acuity’, requires the observer to identify one unique target among three others which are identical. This is a proof of concept study aimed to determine if differential acuity is equivalent to standard measures of recognition acuity. Methods: To create a range of visual acuity, vision was optically blurred in sixteen adults with normal visual acuity. Visual acuity was then measured with the differential acuity targets in both crowded and uncrowded format, and compared with standard ETDRS acuity or with singly presented letters and uncrowded letters were analysed separately. Results: The visual acuity results for crowded and uncrowded letters were analysed separately. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that when a crowded Sloan C had to be differentiated from three crowded Os (CvsO), the results were not significantly different from ETDRS acuity or from naming one of four letters presented centrally (Name4)(p < 0.05). Similar results were found for uncrowded letters – the C versus O and Name4 gave similar visual acuity. The 95% limits of agreement between the naming and C versus O differential acuity measures were between 0.17 and 0.27 logMAR. Conclusion: From this proof of concept study we conclude that differential acuity gives similar results to the ETDRS chart in adults. We infer that the comparable but cognitively simpler differential visual acuity task could be applied in clinical settings for young children or patients with developmental delay who cannot respond by naming or matching. © 2019 Spanish General Council of Optometry