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Curveball: A tool for rapid measurement of contrast sensitivity based on smooth eye movements.

Journal Article
Mooney SWJ, Hill NJ, Tuzun MS, Alam NM, Carmel JB, Prusky GT.
Year Published: 
J Vis. 2018 Nov 1;18(12):7. doi: 10.1167/18.12.7.
Full-Text on Pubmed


The contrast sensitivity function (CSF) is an informative measure of visual function, but current tools for assessing it are limited by the attentional, motor, and communicative abilities of the participant. Impairments in these abilities can prevent participants from engaging with tasks or following an experimenter's instructions. Here, we describe an efficient new tool for measuring contrast sensitivity, Curveball, and empirically validate it with a sample of healthy adults. The Curveball algorithm continuously infers stimulus visibility through smooth eye tracking instead of perceptual report, and rapidly lowers stimulus contrast in real time until a threshold is found. The procedure requires minimal instruction to administer and takes only five minutes to estimate a full CSF, which is comparable to the best existing methods available for healthy adults. Task repeatability was high: the coefficients of repeatability were 0.275 (in log10 units of RMS contrast) within the same session and 0.227 across different days. We also present evidence that the task is robust across illumination changes, well correlated with results from conventional psychophysical methods, and highly sensitive to improvements in visual acuity from refractive correction. Our findings indicate that Curveball is a promising means of accurately assessing contrast sensitivity in previously neglected populations.


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