Myopes experience greater contrast adaptation during reading

Colm McGonigle, Ian van der Linde, Shahina Pardhan, Stephen A. Engel, Edward A.H. Mallen, Peter M. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigated whether reading influences contrast adaptation differently in young adult emmetropic and myopic participants at the spatial frequencies created by text rows and character strokes. Pre-adaptation contrast sensitivity was measured for test gratings with spatial frequencies of 1 cdeg-1 and 4 cdeg-1, presented horizontally and vertically. Participants then adapted to reading text corresponding to the horizontal "row frequency" of text (1 cdeg-1), and vertical "stroke frequency" of the characters (4 cdeg-1) for 180 s. Following this, post-adaptation contrast sensitivity was measured. Twenty young adults (10 myopes, 10 emmetropes) optimally corrected for the viewing distance participated. There was a significant reduction in logCS post-text adaptation (relative to pre-adaptation logCS) at the row frequency (1 cdeg-1 horizontal) but not at the stroke frequency (4 cdeg-1 vertical). logCS changes due to adaptation at 1 cdeg-1 horizontal were significant in both emmetropes and myopes. Comparing the two refractive groups, myopic participants showed significantly greater adaptation compared to emmetropic participants. Reading text on a screen induces contrast adaptation in young adult observers. Myopic participants were found to exhibit greater contrast adaptation than emmetropes at the spatial frequency corresponding to the text row frequency. No contrast adaptation was observed at the text stroke frequency in either participant group. The greater contrast adaptation experienced by myopes after reading warrants further investigation to better understand the relationship between near work and myopia development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Contrast adaptation
  • Myopia
  • Near work
  • Spatial frequency


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