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Cord Huchzermeyer, Julien Fars, Jan Kremers; Photoreceptor-Specific Loss of Perifoveal Temporal Contrast Sensitivity in Retinitis Pigmentosa. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(6):27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.6.27.
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Inherited retinal diseases affect the L-, M-, S-cones and rods in distinct ways, which calls for new methods that enable quantification of photoreceptor-specific functions. We tested the feasibility of using the silent substitution paradigm to estimate photoreceptor-driven temporal contrast sensitivity (tCS) functions in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
The silent substitution paradigm is based on substitution of lights of different spectral composition; this offers considerable advantage over other stimulation techniques. We used a four-primary LED stimulator to create perifoveal annular stimuli (2° inner, 12° outer diameters) and used a triple silent substitution to probe photoreceptor-selective tCS. Measurements were performed in a heterogeneous cohort of 15 patients with retinitis pigmentosa and related to those in a control group of nine color-normal healthy observers. Age differences between groups were addressed with a model of age-related normal contrast sensitivity derived from measurements in 20 healthy observers aged between 23 and 83 years.
The age-related loss of tCS amounted to 0.1 dB/year in healthy subjects across all photoreceptor subtypes. In patients, tCS was decreased for every photoreceptor subtype; however, S-cone- and rod-driven sensitivities were most strongly affected. Postreceptoral mechanisms were not affected.
This feasibility study provides evidence that the silent substitution technique enables the estimation of photoreceptor-selective tCS functions and can serve as an accurate biomarker of photoreceptor-specific contrast sensitivity loss in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
We aim to develop tests of visual function for clinical trials of novel therapies for inherited retinal diseases from methods that can currently be used only in vision research labs.
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