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Blur Adaptation in Myopes

ROSENFIELD, MARK MCOptom, PhD, FAAO; HONG, SUSAN E. AB; GEORGE, SINI MS

Original Article

It has been suggested that when subjects with myopia remove their refractive correction, blur adaptation develops to produce an improvement in their visual resolution. The present study measured visual acuity (VA) using high contrast letters and gratings with contrast levels between 2.5% and 40% at 30-minute intervals over the course of a 3-h period during which the subjects remained uncorrected. Twenty-two young subjects with moderate degrees of myopia (mean refractive error, −1.85 D) participated in the study. Immediately after a 1-h period of full correction, subjects spent 3 h without any refractive correction, during which time they watched television and videos at a viewing distance of 5 m. A significant change in letter and grating VA was observed during the course of the 3-h period of sustained blur, with the mean uncorrected letter VA improving from 0.76 (SD, ±0.26) to 0.53 (SD, ±0.23) logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR). The Snellen equivalent to this change is from 6/35 to 6/20. A significant improvement in grating acuity was also observed. However, no significant change in refractive error, measured using noncycloplegic autorefraction, was found. These results demonstrate significant blur adaptation in subjects with uncorrected myopia, which does not result from a change in refractive state. We hypothesize that the improvement in visual resolution results from perceptual adaptation to the blurred image, which may occur at central sites within the visual cortex.

SUNY College of Optometry, New York, New York

Received September 23, 2003; accepted June 14, 2004.

© 2004 American Academy of Optometry