Neural contrast sensitivity calculated from measured total contrast sensitivity and modulation transfer function


Dr Ralph Michael
Institut Universitari Barraquer
Laforja 88
08021 Barcelona
Tel: + 34 93 200 6311 ext. 2406/2402
Fax: + 34 93 414 1228


Purpose:  To test the feasibility of calculating neural contrast sensitivity function (neural CSF) from conventionally measured total contrast sensitivity function (total CSF) and measured modulation transfer function (MTF). Neural CSF considers the retina and the brain, whereas total CSF considers the optical eye media, the retina and the brain together.

Methods:  We studied three groups comprising nine eyes each: one group with normal ocular optics but retinal alterations (mild diabetic retinopathy), one with altered ocular optics and normal retina (keratoconus), and a normal control group.

Results:  Total CSF in the keratoconus and retinopathy groups was significantly lower compared to the control group. Modulation transfer function for keratoconus was lower, and in the retinopathy group was similar to that of the control group. Calculated neural CSF in the diabetes mellitus group was lower than in the control group whereas in the keratoconus group it was similar to that of the control group, with overestimations for some keratoconus cases.

Conclusion:  It is possible to calculate a meaningful neural CSF from measured total CSF and MTF data. The neural CSF represents a CSF adjusted for optical aberrations. This would allow comparison of the neural component of visual function in eyes with different optical aberrations.