Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde vol:219 issue:12 pages:862-5
BACKGROUND: Examination and documentation of the optic nerve head are essential in monitoring glaucoma patients. Even minor changes in optic nerve head morphology can be visualised using the so-called flicker test: Two optic nerve head photographs, taken at consecutive examinations, are superimposed by projection. When occluding the pictures in a rapid alternating fashion, changes in optic nerve head morphology appear as motion. In this study, we evaluated sensitivity and specificity of the flicker test. METHOD: A set of 33 pairs of serial optic disc slides was used as gold standard. These 33 pairs had been classified earlier by 3 independent groups of experts. 23 had been classified as "no change over time", 10 had been classified as "change". All 33 pairs were now evaluated by flicker comparison in a masked fashion. RESULTS: Flicker comparison usually took 1 minute per pair of slides. Sensitivity was 90 %, specificity was 65 %. CONCLUSION: The sensitivity was reasonably high. The moderate specificity was due to some cases showing "change" with the flicker comparison which might have been overlooked by the expert groups. Flicker comparison is an easy, fast and reliable technique to evaluate pairs of consecutive optic disc photographs.