A number of automated perimeters use the Zippy Estimation by Sequential Testing (ZEST) algorithm, which is an adaptive Bayesian method, for determining sensitivity measures. There are two popular rules for deciding when to terminate Bayesian procedures: (1) after a fixed number of presentations; or (2) when the probability density function (pdf) over all thresholds modified by the procedure becomes sufficiently narrow (a dynamic termination criterion). It has recently been argued that fixed termination criteria perform equally as well as dynamic criteria when applied in a fashion typical of laboratory-based visual psychophysics. Perimetry, however, has specific requirements; the tests must be very short, there is a wide range of possible sensitivities, and erroneous responses from the patient must be tolerated. This study used computer simulation to compare fixed and dynamic termination criteria for the ZEST algorithm using conditions typical of white-on-white perimetry.
Eight ZEST procedures were compared using the following termination criteria: fixed termination after 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 presentations; dynamic termination when the standard deviation of the pdf was 1 dB, 1.5 dB, and 2 dB. Four patient error models were used: ideal, typical false-positive, typical false-negative, and unreliable patients. We also ran a version of ZEST that set the likelihood function exactly equal to the patient’s frequency of seeing curve.
The mean absolute error and standard deviation of error in threshold measurement was higher for the fixed termination criteria than for dynamic termination criteria of the same average number of presentations.
The results of our simulations indicate that dynamic procedures have some distinct benefits over fixed termination procedures when a minimum of presentations are required and response errors are made as in a white-on-white perimetric setting. Dynamic termination criteria are at least partially successful in expending more presentations when required to enhance test precision.