Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Preoperative visual acuity of cataract patients. Repeatability of visual acuity and refractive error measurements in clinical settings

Jaakko Leinonen

Doctoral dissertation, October 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine and Vaasa Central Hospital, Vaasa, Finland.

Visual acuities at the time of referral and on the day before surgery were compared in 124 patients operated on for cataract in Vaasa Central Hospital, Finland. Preoperative visual acuity and the occurrence of ocular and general disease were compared in samples of consecutive cataract extractions performed in 1982, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000 in two hospitals in the Vaasa region in Finland.

The repeatability and standard deviation of random measurement error in visual acuity and refractive error determination in a clinical environment in cataractous, pseudophakic and healthy eyes were estimated by re-examining visual acuity and refractive error of patients referred to cataract surgery or consultation by ophthalmic professionals. Altogether 99 eyes of 99 persons (41 cataractous, 36 pseudophakic and 22 healthy eyes) with a visual acuity range of Snellen 0.3 to 1.3 (0.52 to -0.11 logMAR) were examined.

During an average waiting time of 13 months, visual acuity in the study eye decreased from 0.68 logMAR to 0.96 logMAR (from 0.2 to 0.1 in Snellen decimal values). The average decrease in vision was 0.27 logMAR per year. In the fastest quartile, visual acuity change per year was 0.75 logMAR, and in the second fastest 0.29 logMAR, the third and fourth quartiles were virtually unaffected.

From 1982 to 2000, the incidence of cataract surgery increased from 1.0 to 7.2 operations per 1000 inhabitants per year in the Vaasa region. The average preoperative visual acuity in the operated eye increased by 0.85 logMAR (in decimal values from 0.03to 0.2) and in the better eye 0.27 logMAR (in decimal values from 0.23 to 0.43) over this period. The proportion of patients profoundly visually handicapped (VA in the better eye <0.1) before the operation fell from 15% to 4%, and that of patients less profoundly visually handicapped (VA in the better eye 0.1 to <0.3) from 47% to 15%.

The repeatability visual acuity measurement estimated as a coefficient of repeatability for all 99 eyes was 0.18 logMAR, and the standard deviation of measurement error was 0.06 logMAR. Eyes with the lowest visual acuity (0.3-0.45) had the largest variability, the coefficient of repeatability values being 0.24 logMAR and eyes with a visual acuity of 0.7 or better had the smallest, 0.12 logMAR.

The repeatability of refractive error measurement was studied in the same patient material as the repeatability of visual acuity. Differences between measurements 1 and 2 were calculated as three-dimensional vector values and spherical equivalents and expressed by coefficients of repeatability. Coefficients of repeatability for all eyes for vertical, torsional and horisontal vectors were 0.74D, 0.34D and 0.93D, respectively, and for spherical equivalent for all eyes 0.74D. Eyes with lower visual acuity (0.3-0.45) had larger variability in vector and spherical equivalent values (1.14), but the difference between visual acuity groups was not statistically significant. The difference in the mean defocus equivalent between measurements 1 and 2 was, however, significantly greater in the lower visual acuity group. If a change of 0.5D (measured in defocus equivalents) is accepted as a basis for change of spectacles for eyes with good vision, the basis for eyes in the visual acuity range of 0.3 - 0.65 would be 1D. Differences in repeated visual acuity measurements are partly explained by errors in refractive error measurements.

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Last updated 05.10.2006

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