DICOM PS3.17 2019c - Explanatory Information

RR.2 Reference Tables For Equivalent Visual Acuity Notations

RR.2.1 Background

Visual acuity is defined as the reciprocal of the ratio between the letter size that can just be recognized by a patient, relative to the size just recognized by a standard eye. If the patient requires letters that are twice as large (or twice as close), the visual acuity is said to be 1/2; if the letters need to be 5x larger, visual acuity is 1/5, and so on.

Note that the scales in the tables extend well above the reference standard (1.0, 20/20, the ability to recognize a letter subtending a visual angle 5 min. of arc), since normal acuity is often 1.25 (20/16), 1.6 (20/12.5) or even 2.0 (20/10).

Today, the ETDRS chart and ETDRS protocol, established by the National Eye Institute in the US, are considered to represent the de facto gold standard for visual acuity measurements The International Council Of Ophthalmology, Visual Standard, Aspects and Ranges of Vision Loss (April, 2002) is a good reference document.

The full ETDRS protocol requires a wide chart, in the shape of an inverted triangle, on a light box, and cannot be implemented on the limited screen of a projector (or similar) chart.

For most routine clinical measurements projector charts or traditional charts with a rectangular shape are used; these non-standardized tools are less accurate than ETDRS measurements.

This appendix contains two lookup tables, one for traditional charts and one for ETDRS measurements.

DICOM PS3.17 2019c - Explanatory Information