Visual Contrast Sensitivity Testing

Overview of Visual Contrast Testing
Visual Contrast Sensitivity testing, or VCS test, is commonly known as Visual Contrast Testing and was originally developed by the U.S. Military Medical Services as a visual assessment for jet fighter pilots. It is a testing measure for the ability to see details at variable contrast levels of grey. While in fact it is a nonspecific test of neurological immune functional assessment- it was found to possess a high degree of accuracy and sensitivity for biotoxin exposure. The test entails the presentation of a series of images of decreasing contrast to the test subject and the recording of the contrast levels where patterns, shapes, or objects can or cannot be identified. The results of the test can then be used as an aid in the diagnosis of Neuro-visual system defects.

Factors that May Affect How we Perceive Contrast

As it is a nonspecific test, anything that may affect the ability to perceive contrast will convey an abnormal result.
Common causes might be due to following underlying abnormalities:

1. Nutritional deficiencies- whether pure or a result of alcohol consumption
2. Neurotoxin exposure could have numerous causes including but not limited to:

  • Animal and insect bites with venom/saliva inoculation
  • Heavy metals such  as Lead and Mercury
  • Lyme Disease and associated Viral, Bacterial, Fungal and Parasitic infections
  • Mold Exposure and Exposure to Volatile organic compounds
  • Body-produced toxins

VCS testing, by itself, is generally not diagnostic for any specific condition (including either mold or neurotoxin exposure), but a positive result may suggest the existence of a health and life-affecting clinically obvious or hidden underlying cause.
However, if a positive result is obtained, a further thorough workup is needed to pinpoint an exact cause. For this to occur compliance is of utmost importance as a large role falls on the patient for clear and accurate symptom reporting, to performing adjunctive tests, environmental observation/control, and strict diet and medication adherence.

Online Contrast Sensitivity Test

The VCS test available now is a second generation test from what was initially invented. It is an Online Contrast Sensitivity Test (OCST) and not a printed paper test as it was originally developed. It is unique in the sense that it is an on-screen display size and gamma calibrated to ensure that results are accurate and valid regardless of the type, size, and settings of the device used to test. Additionally, OCST test images are generated dynamically in software, which ensures that the images are of the highest quality and that the test is different each time you take it.
Online testing is free or by donation, and a new individual/patients receives one free test initially, though free results are limited to a positive/negative determination and raw test scores. It is advisable to obtain a detailed results interpretation and a PDF format that could be printed or forwarded to the treating physician so that the abnormal result could be acted on. It is also a must for further test result comparisons for individuals undergoing treatment to gauge their progress and cure.

As to how frequent this test is needed, it varies from one patient to another depending on their underlying ailment.

The goal is to obtain a conversion from a Positive to a Negative test which tells us that treatment is on the right track and recovery has begun.

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