Optometry & Vision Science

Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 2001 - Volume 78 - Issue 10 > Visual Acuity in Contact Lens Wearers
Optometry & Vision Science:
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Visual Acuity in Contact Lens Wearers

BAILEY, MELISSA D. OD, MS; WALLINE, JEFFREY J. OD, MS, FAAO; MITCHELL, G. LYNN MAS; ZADNIK, KARLA OD, PhD, FAAO

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Abstract

Purpose. The difference between high- and low-contrast visual acuity provides a sensitive indicator of vision loss in ocular disease; however, the effect of refractive error correction on this difference is still debated.

Methods. High- and low-contrast visual acuity was measured in 116 rigid gas permeable contact lens wearers, 51 spectacle wearers, and 50 soft contact lens wearers with habitual and best correction. Twenty-nine of the soft contact lens wearers reported that they wore disposable contact lenses (discarded on a monthly or more frequent basis), whereas the other 21 soft contact lens wearers wore traditional soft contact lenses.

Results. Rigid gas permeable contact lens wearers had statistically worse high-contrast habitual visual acuity than spectacle wearers (Tukey-Kramer, p = 0.0075). Traditional soft contact lens wearers had significantly worse low-contrast visual acuity compared with all other groups (Tukey-Kramer, p < 0.02 for each comparison). Traditional soft contact lens wearers had a significantly larger difference between high- and low-contrast visual acuity with best correction compared with rigid gas permeable wearers (Tukey-Kramer, p = 0.0099).

Conclusions. Rigid gas permeable contact lens wearers had statistically worse habitual high-contrast visual acuity compared with spectacle wearers, but no difference was present under best-corrected conditions. We hypothesize that rigid gas permeable contact lens wearers were not wearing their optimal correction habitually. Traditional soft contact lens wearers had significantly worse low-contrast visual acuity. They also had a larger difference between their best-corrected high- and low-contrast visual acuity scores compared with rigid gas permeable contact lens wearers.

© 2001 American Academy of Optometry

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