The aim of this study is to evaluate lighting conditions and speleologists’ visual performance using optical filters when exposed to the lighting conditions of cave environments. A cross-sectional study was conducted. Twenty-three speleologists were submitted to an evaluation of visual function in a clinical lab. An examination of visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, stereoacuity and flashlight illuminance levels was also performed in 16 of the 23 speleologists at two caves deprived of natural lightning. Two organic filters (450nm and 550nm) were used to compare visual function with and without filters. The mean age of the speleologists was 40.65 (± 10.93) years. We detected 26.1% participants with visual impairment of which refractive error (17.4%) was the major cause. In the cave environment the majority of the speleologists used a head flashlight with a mean illuminance of 451.0 ± 305.7 lux. Binocular visual acuity (BVA) was -0.05±0.15 LogMAR (20/18). BVA for distance without filter was not statistically different from BVA with 550 nm or 450 nm filters (p=0.093). Significant improved contrast sensitivity was observed with 450 nm filters for 6 cpd (p = 0.034) and 18 cpd (p = 0.026) spatial frequencies. There were no signs and symptoms of visual pathologies related to cave exposure. Illuminance levels were adequate to the majority of the activities performed. The enhancement in contrast sensitivity with filters could potentially improve tasks related with the activities performed in the cave.
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Lança, Carla Costa; Nádia Fernandes; Ana Monteiro; and Ana Almeida.
Lighting conditions and optical filters effects on visual performance of speleologists exposed to cave environments.
International Journal of Speleology,
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/ijs/vol45/iss1/3