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Spatial contrast sensitivity: effects of reliability, test–retest repeatability and sample size using the Metropsis software



The goals of the study were to further assess contrast sensitivity to (1) investigate the existence of monocular vs. binocular differences; (2) observe possible differences between sample sizes; (3) investigate the effects of test–retest repeatability.


Contrast sensitivity measurements were obtained by presenting eight horizontal sine-wave gratings (ranging from 0.2 to 20 cycles per degree). A three-up-one-down method was used to obtain thresholds with a criterion of 79.4% correct responses for each spatial frequency. The mean of 12 reversals was used for obtaining thresholds, and the two-alternative forced-choice method was used. Data were recorded in 55 naive observers from 20 to 45 years. All participants were free from identifiable ocular disease and had normal visual acuity.


We observed the absence of differences on CSF for both monocular and binocular observers, as well as the absence of differences between large sample sizes. The latter investigation revealed a high degree of repeatability across time (baseline to 6 months later) with the higher test–retest for low and high spatial frequencies.


Our results indicated that spatial contrast sensitivity measurements were little influenced by variables, such as binocular summation, eye dominance, sample size and time using the Metropsis test. The results obtained here have significance for basic and clinical vision science.

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Author information

TM conceived and designed the experiment, and performed the critical review of the paper. NL helped draft the paper, collected data and performed statistical analysis. PB performed the critical review of this paper and helped in the revised version. NA was responsible for the direction, guidance and critical review of this paper. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. The authors did not receive (or will receive) any benefit from the Cambridge Research Systems.

Correspondence to Natalia Leandro de Almeida.

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