Binocular summation (BiS) is defined as the superiority of visual function for binocular over monocular viewing. Binocular summation decreases with age and large interocular differences in visual acuity. To our knowledge, BiS has not heretofore been well studied as a functional measure of binocularity in strabismus.
To evaluate the effect of strabismus on BiS using a battery of psychophysical tasks that are clinically relevant and easy to use and to determine whether strabismus is associated with binocular inhibition in extreme cases.
University-based eye institute.
Strabismic patients recruited during 2010 to 2012 from a preoperative clinic and control participants with no history of eye disease other than refractive error.
A battery of psychophysical and electrophysiological tests including Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study visual acuity, Sloan low-contrast acuity (LCA) (2.5% and 1.25%), Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity, and sweep visual evoked potential contrast sensitivity.
Main Outcome and Measure
Binocular summation was calculated as the ratio between binocular and better-eye individual scores.
Sixty strabismic and 80 control participants were prospectively examined (age range, 8-60 years). Mean BiS was significantly lower in the strabismic patients than controls for LCA (2.5% and 1.25%, P = .005 and <.001, respectively). For 1.25% LCA, strabismic patients had a mean BiS score less than 1, indicating binocular inhibition (ie, the binocular score was less than that of the better eye’s monocular score). There was no significant difference in BiS for contrast thresholds on Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study visual acuity, Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity, or sweep visual evoked potential contrast sensitivity. Regression analysis revealed a significant worsening of BiS with strabismus for 2.5% (P = .009) and 1.25% (P = .002) LCA, after accounting for age.
Conclusions and Relevance
Strabismic patients demonstrate subnormal BiS and even binocular inhibition for LCA, suggesting that strabismus impairs visual function more than previously appreciated. This may explain why strabismic patients who are not diplopic close 1 eye in visually demanding situations. This finding clarifies the visual deficits impacting quality of life in strabismic patients and may represent a novel measure by which to evaluate and monitor function in strabismus.