Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract · Background: The Night Vision Spectacles (NiViS) were developed by a consortium of European companies to assist individuals who suffer from impaired night vision. They consist of a head-mounted video camera (input) and binocular displays (output) connected to a portable computer processor, which uses an algorithm to enhance the luminance and contrast of the video image. · Methods: Eighteen patients with impaired night vision were tested, including those with retinitis pigmentosa (7), Usher syndrome (2), fundus albipunctatus (1) and complete (4) and incomplete (4) congenital stationary night blindness. Normal trichromats (3) and typical, complete achromats (2) acted as controls. A battery of tests assessed: visual acuity at 5 m (projection unit) and 1 m (chart) and at high and low contrasts; contrast sensitivity; absolute and increment threshold; the influence of glare; contrast motion detection; and hand-eye performance. The tests were performed, with and without the NiViS, at three adaptation levels: low scotopic (10–3 cd/m2), high scotopic (10–2 cd/m2) and mesopic (10–1 cd/m2). · Results: At the low and high scotopic levels, the majority of patients showed improved performance on the visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and motion contrast tests with the NiViS. At the mesopic level, the advantage with the NiViS was greatly reduced, but still present for contrast sensitivity. · Conclusion: Patients with impaired night vision can benefit from the NiViS when performing tasks involving contrast and motion perception. Those with normal visual fields and retaining good photopic vision will benefit more than those with constricted visual fields and impaired cone vision. Recommendations regarding desirable improvements of the NiViS and suitability for the individual patient are given.
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