Contrast sensitivity, ocular blood flow and their potential role in assessing ischaemic retinal disease

Yochai Z. Shoshani, Alon Harris, Deepam Rusia, George L. Spaeth, Brent Siesky, Ayala Pollack, Barbara Wirostko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the definition, evaluation methodology, association to ocular blood flow and potential clinical value of contrast sensitivity (CS) testing in clinical and research settings, focusing in patients with ischemic retinal disease. Methods: A review of the medical literature focusing on CS and ocular blood flow in ischemic retinal disease. Results: CS may be more sensitive than other methods at detecting subtle defects or improvements in primarily central retinal ganglion cell function early on in a disease process. CS testing attempts to provide spatial detection differences which are not directly assessed with standard visual acuity chart testing. Analyzing all studies that have assessed both CS change and ocular blood flow, it is apparent that both choroidal circulation and retinal circulation may have an important role in influencing CS. Conclusion: The concept that CS is directly influenced by ocular blood flow is supported by reviewing the studies involving both. Although the studies in the literature have not established a direct cause and effect relationship per se, the literature review makes it logical to assume that changes in retinal and choroidal blood flow influence CS. This raises the possibility that a subjective visual characteristic, specifically CS, may be able to be evaluated more objectively by studying blood flow. It appears appropriate to study the relationship between blood flow and CS more extensively to develop improved ways of measuring various aspects of blood flow to the eye and to best quantify early changes in visual function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e382-e395
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • contrast sensitivity
  • ocular blood flow
  • retinal disease
  • visual function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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