Effect of disability glare on visual performance

  • Richard P.T. Steen

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The object of the study was to investigate, establish and quantify the relationship between contrast sensitivity, intraocular light scatter and glare. The aim was to establish the effects on vision, in an effort to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the visual world of subjects prone to increased light scatter in the eye. Disability glare refers to the reduction in visual performance produced by a glare source. The reduction in visual performance can be explained by intraocular scattered light producing a veiling luminance which is superimposed upon the retinal image. This veiling luminance lowers contrast thus sensitivity to the stimulus declines. The effect of glare of luminance and colour contrast sensitivity for young and elderly subjects was examined. For both age groups, disability glare was greatest for the red-green stimulus and least for the blue-yellow. The precise effect of a glare source on colour discrimination depends upon the interaction between the chromaticity of the glare source and that of the stimulus. The effect of a long wavelength pass (red) and a short wavelength pass filter (blue) on disability glare was examined. Disability glare was not significantly different with the red and blue filters, even in the presence of wavelength dependent scatter. An equation was derived which allowed an intrinsic Light Scatter Factor (LSF) to be determined for any given glare angle (Paulsson and Sjöstrand, 1980). Corrections to the formula to account for factors such as pupil size changes are unnecessary. The results confirm the suitability of measuring the LSF using contrast threshold with and without glare, provided that appropriate methods are used. Using this formula an investigation into the amount of wavelength dependent scatter indicated that wavelength dependent scatter in normal young, elderly or cataractous eyes is of little or no significance. Finally, it seemed desirable to investigate the effect ultraviolet (UV) radiation has on intraocular light scatter and subsequently visual performance. Overall the results indicated that the presence or absence of UV radiation has relatively little effect on visual function for the young, elderly or cataract patient.
Date of Award1995
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJ.M. Wild (Supervisor)


  • disability glare
  • visual performance

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