August 8th, 2018: Understanding and Remembrance Day for Severe ME
Have you heard of our Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Day of Understanding and Remembrance? Please join Jody Smith in observing this day and honoring the 25% of those with ME/CFS who are most severely ill.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by Hip, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Has anyone taken the Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) Test, which is said to be an easy and simple measure of biotoxins in your body?

    One such VCS test is provided by Dr Shoemaker for $15.

    Some free Visual Contrast Sensitivity Tests are found here:

    When I view this free VCS Chart on my computer screen, I cannot easily make out the last line of letters (the eighth line). But I expect the result you get depends on how your computer monitor is setup.

    Anyone else care to have a go at reading this VCS chart?
  2. glenp

    glenp "and this too shall pass"

    Vancouver Canada suburbs
    8 lines??

    Are you sure there are 8 lines? I see 7 lines but the last line comes and goes?

  3. Athene


    I only see 6 lines!!!
    I think we need a proper printed version of this, as our computers will al be different.
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Yes, a pre-printed and calibrated Visual Contrast Sensitivity Chart would be much better.

    If your computer has a LCD screen, if you lower your head so that you are looking upwards at the screen, this often increases the contrast, and so make fainter text more visible.

    When I lower my head, and thus looking up at the screen slightly, I can just about read the 8th line. But if I raise my head position, then, looking down at my screen slightly from above, I can only see the first 6 lines - the 7th and 8th are not readable.

    So not only are our screens different probably, but the viewing angle can also alter the screen contrast.

    You can try printing out the above chart. But I think you will need a laser printer for this. I tried it on my HP inkjet printer, but the result were not good.

    There are pre-printed Visual Contrast Sensitivity Charts available, but they seem very expensive ($89), for what is in essence just a piece of printed paper:

    The Dr Shoemaker VCS test for $15 is more economic, if you only want one test. I am not sure how Dr Shoemaker's onscreen test gets round the problems of monitor contrast differences from computer to computer, though.
  5. citybug

    citybug Senior Member

    preprinted is better. but this is the whole idea of the test. some people can't see the different lines. I think the examples above show it works!
    They are black and white characters. computer screens shouldn't make that much difference. I did wonder how to answer when i did the test before. When you don't really see it clearly, but think it is there, do you say yes, or do you say no?
  6. lono


    I think the quality of your monitor can make a difference, unfortunately. I've passed this online, but when I've taken the printed form version I failed.

    For people who fail this, Dr. Shoemaker recommends these tests:

    My opinion is that if you want to check for possible abnormal biomarkers you can get these four done fairly easily (in the U.S.). Melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) which is abnormally low in affected patients (under 35), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) which is low, and C4a, TGF-Beta-1 which are both elevated. I've been able to order all these tests through LabCorp in the U.S. and they were covered by insurance.

    Not everyone with ME/CFS will have these abnormal biomarkers, but a significant portion of CFSers seem to.
  7. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Yes, if found only the first 4 lines were visible on my printed version, but I think this is a problem with the printer, not my eyes.

    Possibly a better Visual Contrast Sensitivity Chart to look at is this one.

    Here, horizontal lines extend from the right hand side of the page, where there are very pronounced, and run over to the left hand side, where they become fainter, and slowly merge with the background. The point at which you can no longer see the lines (as you go from right to left) is presumably the measure of your contrast sensitivity

    When I look at this Chart on screen, I can see the lines most of the way from right to left, but in last say 10% of the page (horizontally), for me the lines have merged into the background. So in our words, I can see 90% of each horizontal line.

    Trouble is that these tests not calibrated, so we have no idea whether our personal contrast sensitivity level indicates the presence of biotoxins or not. The Shoemaker test is apparently calibrated for this purpose.
  8. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    I took this test some time back, the test seems accurate, because I have also done the DMSA toxin challenge after doing detox and it correlated with this test.
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Hi ggingues

    Did you take the Dr Shoemaker test some time back, or another similar test?

    Did the detox improve your visual contrast sensitivity noticeably?
  10. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

    I got only 7 lines on the nyu test, and the 7th took a lot of maneuvering before I could make it out. Wasn't able to understand the second test. I'd also be interested to hear if detox changed test results. I had never heard that this was a marker for biotoxins, very interesting, I'd like to understand more.

    I do know that my vision is often affected (in a good way) by acupuncture.
  11. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    According to my Dr it was good enough for me to stop doing detox.

    Here is a website address that I came across when I clicked on 1 of my old emails:

    And this was in April of 2009. I paid about $50 for 3 tests but only used 2, so far. Or you can buy 1 test for $20 or 10 tests for $100.

  12. lartista


    (left eye severe, right eye less)

    (left eye came up severe)

    (I see all of line 1 through 4, line 5 I start seeing then I lose )


    ( left eye loses all, right eye loses most)

    (Dr. said "Mild MACULOPATHY in my left eye?")

    (Dr. said "left eye slight less tears than right eye")

    (Dr. said " optic neuritis in left eye? & something starting in right eye?)

    (I can't remember what the Dr. said)

    (Dr. said "no signs of this in blood")

    (Dr. said "brain-spine contrast showed NO inflammation or lesions")

    (not quite this but something like this I see in my left eye, the area is not dark but a fog in a very specific area in my vision)

    (October 29, 2012 a MIGRAINE came on like I had never seen before, since then I have a foggy cloud patch left in my vision, my vision has been going for the past 2 years but has gotten VERY BAD now)

    (maybe it was -negative scotoma migraine?)

    (right eye is normal, left is different but I can not tell what, foggy...?)

    (this one seems o.k.)

    ( I can't tell, it may be my natural blind spot I found as they say)


    (these are the ones that showed up: Optic neuritis, Uveitis, Iritis, Migraine with aura)

    18) My left eye vision problems included these SYMPTOMS:
    Eye discomfort best described as ache,
    Loss of color vision (particular shades of red & green)
    Vision loss
    Worsened by eye movement
    Floating black-grey chain of little balls like a fuzzy caterpillar or something under a microscope
    When eye moves to the right, a clear fuzzy cloud comes in and moves to the right when I arrive around like I see a little bit of a heat wave off of the pavement in the summer.
    Sometimes will not focus

    Feels like it needs to warm up but with too much use, the vision goes out
    Sometimes will not permit me to read (often with new reading glasses) The vision comes and goes
    Some areas clear and others within the same view a clear cloud

    Jan 2012 - USA doctor found something strange but could not peg it.
    Oct 2012 - Italian doctors #1, #2, #3 and #4 all found things but no one can peg it.
    I have decided if I can get my courage up... to try to be admitted this Wednesday at the Perugia Hospital in Italy and just let them duke it all out in one week. The system is different in Italy as if you get into the hopistal, you pay NOTHING and gets all tests done in the course of your stay. Otherwise you are asking the primary doctor to write up permission slip requests for specialist and unless he flags it URGENT, you are sitting there for 1 to 12 months. I can not wait any longer while I am losing my sight...

    ANY HELP YOU GUYS???? Please I am desperate. Here is my YouTube Illness Channel Station:



See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page