Short-term hypobaric hypoxia enhances visual contrast sensitivity

Krisztina Benedek, Szabolcs Kéri, Andor Grósz, Zsolt Tótka, Erika Tóth, György Benedek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of hypoxia on early visual functions remains a controversial area of research. To explore this question, we measured static and dynamic visual contrast sensitivity in 14 healthy volunteers at a simulated altitude of 5500 m. In comparison with the baseline condition (mean arterial oxygen saturation: 98.4%), contrast sensitivity significantly increased after 5, 10 and 15 min of hypoxic exposure (saturation: 82.9%, 77.0%, 74.3%, respectively). After 10 min, this enhancement was markedly pronounced under dynamic conditions. Returning to the baseline altitude (saturation: 97.7%), contrast sensitivity recovered, mostly at the lower spatial frequencies. There was a significant negative relationship between arterial oxygen saturation and contrast sensitivity values at low and medium spatial frequencies (0.5-4.8 c/deg). These results suggest that early visual processing may be enhanced during short-term hypoxic challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1066
Number of pages4
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2002



  • Hypoxia
  • Retina
  • Simulated altitude
  • Visual contrast sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this