Mobile app Aston contrast sensitivity test

Alec Kingsnorth, Tom Drew, Bikramjit Grewal, James S. Wolffsohn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Contrast detection is an important aspect of the assessment of visual function; however, clinical tests evaluate limited spatial frequencies and contrasts. This study validates the accuracy and inter-test repeatability of a swept-frequency near and distance mobile app Aston contrast sensitivity test, which overcomes this limitation compared to traditional charts.

METHOD: Twenty subjects wearing their full refractive correction underwent contrast sensitivity testing on the new near application (near app), distance app, CSV-1000 and Pelli-Robson charts with full correction and with vision degraded by 0.8 and 0.2 Bangerter degradation foils. In addition repeated measures using the 0.8 occluding foil were taken.

RESULTS: The mobile apps (near more than distance, p = 0.005) recorded a higher contrast sensitivity than printed tests (p < 0.001); however, all charts showed a reduction in measured contrast sensitivity with degradation (p < 0.001) and a similar decrease with increasing spatial frequency (interaction > 0.05). Although the coefficient of repeatability was lowest for the Pelli-Robson charts (0.14 log units), the mobile app charts measured more spatial frequencies, took less time and were more repeatable (near: 0.26 to 0.37 log units; distance: 0.34 to 0.39 log units) than the CSV-1000 (0.30 to 0.93 log units). The duration to complete the CSV-1000 was 124 ± 37 seconds, Pelli-Robson 78 ± 27 seconds, near app 53 ± 15 seconds and distance app 107 ± 36 seconds.

CONCLUSIONS: While there were differences between charts in contrast levels measured, the new Aston near and distance apps are valid, repeatable and time-efficient method of assessing contrast sensitivity at multiple spatial frequencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350–355
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kingsnorth, A., Drew, T., Grewal, B., & Wolffsohn, J. S. (2016). Mobile app Aston contrast sensitivity test. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 99(4), 350–355, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • contrast sensitivity
  • CSV-1000
  • mobile app
  • Pelli–Robson chart
  • repeatability
  • validity


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