Visual performance of the human eye with soft hydrophilic contact lenses
The recording of visual acuity using the Snellen letter chart is only a limited measure of the visual performance of an eye wearing a refractive aid. Qualitative in addition to quantitative information is required to establish such a parameter: spatial, temporal and photometric aspects must all be incorporated into the test procedure. The literature relating to the correction of ametropia by refractive aids was reviewed. Selected aspects of a comparison between the correction provided by spectacles and contact lenses were considered. Special attention was directed to soft hydrophilic contact lenses. Despite technological advances which have produced physiologically acceptable soft lenses, there still remain associated with this recent form of refractive aid unpredictable visual factors. Several techniques for vision assessment were described, and previous studies of visual performance were discussed. To facilitate the investigation of visual performance in a clinical environment, a new semi-automated system was described: this utilized the presentation of broken ring test stimuli on a television screen. The research project comprised two stages. Initial work was concerned with the validation of the television system, including the optimization of its several operational variables. The second phase involved the utilization of the system in an investigation of visual performance aspects of the first month of regular daily soft contact lens wear by experimentally-naive subjects. On the basis of the results of this work an ‘homoeostatic’ model has been proposed to represent the strategy which an observer adopts in order to optimize his visual performance with soft contact lenses.