Comparison of colour contrast sensitivity in eyes at high risk of neovascular age‐related macular degeneration with and without subsequent choroidal neovascular membrane development

Antonio Calcagni*, Olivia Howells, Hannah Bartlett*, Alastair K.O. Denniston, Jonathan M Gibson, Christopher R Hogg, Timothy D Matthews, Frank Eperjesi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neovascular age‐related macular degeneration (nAMD) is a leading cause of blind registrations in the elderly. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect the early stage of the disease, when treatment is more likely to be successful. Subjects with very early disease are likely to have abnormal macular function, even in the pre‐symptomatic stage. In this study, colour vision was evaluated to establish if subjects at high risk of developing nAMD can be identified, thus allowing earlier diagnosis and possible treatment.

Colour contrast sensitivity (CCS) was evaluated over time in the fellow unaffected eye of subjects with unilateral nAMD. Participants were divided into Group 1 (182 participants) or Group 2 (15 participants) according to whether nAMD did not or did develop in the study period respectively and the two groups were compared.

CCS was increased (i.e. worse colour vision) compared with the age-matched reference range in a high proportion of fellow eyes in both Groups 1 and 2. Global mean CCS values did not show statistically significant differences between the two groups. However, there was a statistically significant difference between mean Group 1 CCS values and the last CCS value prior to nAMD diagnosis from Group 2 subjects.

This study shows that in patients with unilateral nAMD, colour vision is frequently abnormal in the fellow unaffected eye. Abnormal CCS does not predict the development of nAMD within the 12 month period of the study and therefore it is not a viable screening tool for this pathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-302
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022, The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Funding Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Dunhill Medical Trust [grant number R304/0713].


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