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Chromatic Aberration, Accommodation, and Color Preference in Asthenopia

Drew, Stefanie A.*; Borsting, Eric; Stark, Lawrence R.*; Chase, Chris

Optometry & Vision Science:
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31825da2f7
Original Articles

Purpose. Asthenopia is a common problem associated with near work and reports suggest that colored lenses or overlays may be applied to reduce symptoms. In this study, we examine the relationship between eyestrain, color preferences, and function of the accommodation and vergence system. Specifically, we examine whether symptomatic observers select colors that reduce accommodative demand based on longitudinal chromatic aberration (LCA).

Methods. Forty-seven undergraduate students participated in this study. Visual discomfort symptoms were assessed using the Conlon survey. A Mark 2 Intuitive Colorimeter was used to obtain optimal colored light preferences. LCA was modeled using the Chromatic Eye and spectral power density data. A comprehensive evaluation of accommodation and vergence was performed following standard procedures.

Results. A significant negative correlation (r = −0.51) was found between eyestrain symptoms and the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) v' axis of colors preferences. Additionally, a significant negative correlation (r = −0.31) was found between eyestrain symptoms and LCA accommodation. Two thirds of the participants in the high discomfort group chose colors that decreased accommodative demand. Accommodative amplitude and vergence facility also correlated with LCA, accounting for 25% of the variance.

Conclusions. The color preferences of individuals are systematically influenced by the functioning of their accommodation and vergence systems with increased symptomatology resulting in color selections that reduce LCA accommodative stimulus demand.

Author Information




College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California (SAD, CC), and Southern California College of Optometry, Fullerton, California (EB, LRS).

Received October 5, 2011; accepted March 11, 2012.

Stefanie A. Drew College of Optometry Western University of Health Science 309 E 2nd Street Pomona, California 91766 e-mail:

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry