Purpose: To evaluate and compare the functional and perceived benefits of wearing coloured lenses by patients with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Method: Ten subjects with early ARMD and five elderly controls wore a selection of NoIR wrap-around coloured lenses (yellow 29.7% light transmission, orange 22.9%, red 16.8% and grey 10.3%), each for a duration of 7 days. Contrast sensitivity, colour vision, visual acuity, the effect of glare and peripheral sensitivity were measured for each lens and compared with a control (no lens) condition. Subjective ratings of visual performance were also scored. Results: Compared with the no filter condition, red and grey lenses reduced contrast sensitivity whereas yellow and orange lenses increased contrast sensitivity. These objective changes were supported by subjective ratings in subjects with ARMD. Grey lenses reduced the loss of contrast sensitivity usually suffered in the presence of glare, whereas visual acuity and peripheral sensitivity decreased with red lenses. Colour vision became distorted with red lenses in control subjects, but was relatively unaffected by the use of coloured lenses in subjects with ARMD. Conclusions: The subjective benefit of coloured lenses appears to be due to a minor enhancement of contrast sensitivity. © 2002 The College of Optometrists.
- age-related macular degeneration
- coloured lenses
- visual function
- visually impaired