NoPURPOSE. Potential vision testing attempts to predict the visual outcome that might be expected as a result of a cataract operation. This report details the clinical utility of critical flicker frequency (CFF) as a potential vision test (PVT). \ud \ud METHODS. CFF thresholds were determined in 31 subjects with age-related idiopathic cataract and no other eye disease, 19 subjects with macular disease (MD) and clear ocular media, and 24 age-matched control subjects. In addition, the CFF technique was administered before cataract surgery in 52 patients and compared with the information provided by presurgical case history and ocular examination alone (ophthalmological judgment [OJ]) and results from two commonly used PVTs (the retroilluminated pinhole and the potential acuity meter). \ud \ud RESULTS. CFF thresholds obtained in the nonsurgical cataract group were unrelated to cataract severity and were similar to those in the control group. In contrast, CFF scores were significantly related to visual acuity (VA) in the MD group. In the pre- and postsurgical studies, OJ predicted postoperative VA very well in patients with moderate cataract and normal fundi and better than all the PVTs. OJ performed less well in patients with comorbid eye disease and dense cataracts, when information from the PVTs would probably have been useful. CFF provided the most accurate predictions of postoperative VA in the small sample of patients with dense cataracts. \ud \ud CONCLUSIONS. CFF was unaffected by cataract, yet sensitive to MD, and provided useful information about the postoperative visual outcome beyond that obtained through history and ocular examination in patients with dense cataracts
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