Purpose: To evaluate the effects of a customised manipulation of spherical aberration (SA) on the high and low contrast visual acuities and contrast sensitivity of young adult myopes.
Methods: A placebo-controlled double masked trial of customised spherical aberration controlling soft contact lenses was undertaken in myopes aged 15–23. Participants wore customised soft contact lenses with either (i) zero spherical aberration or (ii) negative spherical aberration that resulted in a net SA (eye plus lens) of −0.1 micron. High and low contrast log MAR visual acuities and Pelli Robson contrast sensitivity were assessed in 196 eyes of 98 subjects after a period of 12 months wearing the lenses.
Results: Both high and low contrast acuities were significantly better in the group wearing the contact lenses with negative spherical aberration (high contrast log MAR, p = 0.043; low contrast log MAR, p = 0.043) which was not due to differences in residual astigmatism or pupil size between the two groups. Pelli Robson contrast sensitivity was not significantly different in the two groups.
Conclusions: Manipulation of spherical aberration, taking account of the participants’ baseline level of aberration, can cause statistically significant improvements in high and low contrast distance visual acuity although these improvements are too small in magnitude to be of clinical significance.