• Visual acuity;
  • Parkinson's disease


Several studies have shown that the visual system is affected in Parkinson's disease (PD) with reduced contrast sensitivity, low-contrast acuity, and flicker sensitivity, as well as altered electroretinograms (ERGs) and pattern visual evoked potentials (VEPs). Apparently, however, no study has yet specifically determined whether visual acuity to high-contrast stimuli is impaired in PD. Visual acuity was measured in a group of 16 patients with PD, both on and off drugs (for 24 h), and 16 age- and sex-matched normal control subjects. Acuity was impaired in the PD group both on standard Snellen chart and on a screen in a computerized test of visual resolution. The degree of impairment was 24 and 25%, respectively, in the two tests. The PD patients had marginally better acuity on both tests while receiving drugs, but the differences were not significant. The difference between the two groups was consistent with impaired resolution and could not be accounted for by any perceptual dysfunction that may also have been present in the PD group. Conversely, however, impaired acuity may be implicated in studies that have reported mild deficits of visuospatial/visuoperceptual function in PD. Reduced acuity appears to be a subtle sequela of dopaminergic deficiency in the visual system.