Patients with diabetes, macular degeneration or other retinopathies at risk for symptoms of reduced contrast sensitivity could monitor their own status with a new test, called called CamBlobs, from Precision Vision.

The test chart consists of 24 rows of four rectangles, each containing a gray disc (or “blob”) positioned randomly within it. Blobs become increasingly fainter moving down the page. Patients mark the position of as many blobs as they can with an “x”. The test is then scored using a transparent overlay. The company says it takes two to three minutes to take the test and another minute to score the results.

The company says a preliminary trial of CamBlobs in patients with diabetes confirmed a substantial loss of contrast sensitivity prior to observable retinopathy and showed that increasing severity of diabetic retinopathy is accompanied by considerable further reduction in contrast sensitivity. From these results Precision Vision concludes that using CamBlobs might be an easy way to both detect and track the progress of this and other retinal diseases.