Il nostro apprendimento è mediato dagli organi di senso: l’83% dalla visione, l’11% dall’udito, il 3,5% dall’olfatto, l’1,5% dal tatto e l’1% dal gusto. Molti sono stati gli studi che hanno legato l’apprendimento ai tratti della personalità e viceversa. L’idea di questo studio è di verificare la differenza di alcuni tratti della personalità in ametropi miopi corretti con occhiali e con lenti a contatto.

Materiale e metodo: i miopi presentano valori compresi tra -10,00 D e -36.00 D. I due gruppi di ametropi sono stati confrontati con un gruppo controllo. A tutti è stato somministrato un test di personalità 16FP di Cattel (forma C) di 105 domande. I dati sono stati analizzati secondo il metodo t-Student.

Conclusione: le donne portatrici di correzione a contatto presentano un significativo miglioramento dei fattori A, B, F e H, gli uomini solo dei fattori B e H. Queste indicazioni promuovono la correzione a contatto per le donne, dimostrando come la correzione oftalmica è una limitazione dell’espressione e della comunicazione affettiva. Di posizione quasi opposta per gli uomini, la correzione a contatto migliora le abilità cognitive (fattore B), ma di contro aumenta lo stato di ansia e di incertezza relazionale.

It is worldly known that vision conveys 83% of our learning, hearing conveys 11%, smell 3.5%, touch 1.5% and taste 1% (5). From a physiological point of view a perception which is reworked at a cortical occipital level does not interact with the unconscious. Perception borders with personality when a central superior integration takes place in the so called interpretative areas of the mesencephalic and limbic reticular systems. Studies carried out since 1915 by Potzl, in 1935 by Von Senden, in 1946 by Asch, up to Dixon and Haider in 1961 and others more (8) confirm it.

We were puzzled by a question: could it possibly be that an improvement or the reestablishment of visual performance would push the psychological sphere towards a “change”?

There is a way of at checking the influence of the refractive error and its correction on personality: patient undergoes a quiz-test aimed at investigating particular personality characteristics; it statistically analyzes them among those who use spectacles lenses or contact lenses.


Cases No. of subjects
Myopes 53
Myopes with CLs 23
Myopes with glasses 30
Males 25
Males with CLs 10
Males with glasses 15
Females 28
Females with CL 13
Females with glasses 15
Myopia From -10.00D to -36.00D (average -17.50D)
Age From 24 to 75 years (average 46 )
Education Sixth grade to college (average ninth grade)
CLs use Ranges from 1 to 20 years (average 4 years)
Active pathology Atrophy of the posterior pole
Peripheral brine-like degeneration
Lens dispersion
Corrected Visual acuity From 0.5/10 (20’ MAR) to 7/10 (1,4’ MAR) with glasses
From 1.5/10 (6,6’ MAR) to 10/10 (1’ MAR) with CLs

Control group

Participants 28 subjects
Males 15 subjects
Females 13 subjects
Education Primary – university (8th grade)
Visual Acuity 10/10 (1’ MAR) in OU
Age range 22 – 70 years (average 40)

The “16 Personality Factors” (16PFs) test by R.B. Cattel, Ph.D

The test is developed on 105 daily life items, wishes, resistances, social behaviors. The test was managed by a psychologist and proposed as a preliminary investigation in order to better single out a correction or an adequate therapy for each case.

All patients showed interest in the approach and gave the utmost collaboration, so much so that the MD (Motivational Distortion ) (11) a factor related to the control of the rightfulness of the answers, was very low. The test is based on 16-PFs (in the Form C) (15). The first five are the most looked into (Karson)(11).

Factor Value >5.6 Value <4.7
A Sociable Unsociable
B Bright Slow
C Emotionally stable Unstable
E Aggressive Submitted
F Expansive Reserved (shy)
G Super-determined Inconstant
H Audacious (daring) Shy
I Creative Realistic
L Suspicious Confiding
M Individualist Time-server
N Shrewd Ingenuos
O Anxious Calm
q1 Progressist Conservative
q2 Self-sufficient Group dependent
q3 Diligent Extravagant
q4 Tens Relaxed
MD (Motivational Distortion) Unreliable Test Truthful Test


The evaluation scale ranges over 9 points.

The equilibrium range between one trait and its complementary is 5.6 to 4.7.

The average of every PFs was obtained from the individual data emerged in each group tested (group with glasses, group with contact lenses, emmetropic eyes, etc.).

Consequently we evaluated the significance of (2) the difference between the average of group for each factor using the Student’s t-test (1), test provided by the statistical methodology.

The value obtained by the test “t” is calculated with the following formula:


t = Ma – Mb

√(Sa2 : na + Sb2 nb)

M = medium sample

S = samples variability

n = number of cases

a = CLs group

b = glasses users

c = control group


In our survey we ascribed a 95% statistical significance when the value of “Student-t” was higher by 2.07. Had such value been higher by 2.8, the statistical significance would have reached 99%.

Results: Test “t” significance

Only the B factor , among the first 5 ones listed by Karson, carries relevant differences in the analyzed male groups.

The relevant difference between the group with glasses and the group with CL is an increase in cognitive ability in the latter group.

As already stated, a high probability (a value >2.07) exists that, standing the same characteristics, myopes with CL exhibit the above differences. The probability reaches 99% when the group of myopes with glasses is compared to a control group (a value >2.8).

Statistically insignificant the differences between the CL group and the control group (a value <2.07).

The H-factor decreases in the CL group as compered to both control and glasses groups.

Both groups referred to the control group show increased anxiety in the O-factor.

The females were definitely more active and their answers much more interesting.

Comparing the field of vision of CLs wearers we noticed that women choose CLs even though the correction doesn’t significantly improve their vision. On the contrary, men choose CLs only if they ensure a consistent improvement.

This different choice probably underlines the different meaning of glasses for men and women.

As far as the educational level goes, only lower education men are CLs users, besides, no one tested held higher education titles. With regard to women CLs wearers, 64% had lower education titles and 36% higher education (or BS). The difference of choice among men and women could be considered a further confirmation of the identification of glasses as a socially acknowledged sign of distinction and culture.

Analysing the outcome, age doesn’t seem to be discriminating between males and females. Anyhow it appears clear that younger people are slightly more interested in CL than older people.


Factor A: sociability, or the desire to be in friendly terms with others, to take part in social activities (Bartussek, 1974)(15).

Taking away glasses, as a true obstacle to communication, brings women to show a definite improvement. Dynamic psychology offers important suggestions on this subject. “Direct contact” represents a fundamental ingredient in women’s ability to communicate. Thanks to this ability a woman can go through childbearing and set up an alliance with her baby even during the nine months of pregnancy, but most of all she can build up a sensory relation at birth, that the baby first establishes. The “visual hooking”, after the tactile, gustatory, auditive and olfactory, represents the means of communication between mother and child (Winnicott, 1967)(5)(13). It is therefore understandable how glasses would become a symbolic important obstacle for a woman.

For men such a mechanism does not exist. Actually their glasses might become a positive barrier between themselves and their instincts, while their absence possibly would induce anxiety. Men’s communication does not improve with CLs.

Factor B: Doubtlessly cognitive is an essential factor in our work. Wagenknecht (1875) synthesizes cognition as the ability to feel, to know, to represent, to judge, to memorize, to learn, to think and, very often, to speak as well (15). Switching from glasses to CLs, both men and women gain significantly in cognitive ability,. Vision field widening, loosing peripheral aberration caused by lenses thickness, the increase in acuity and, above all, a more direct physical approach to the external world, allow men and women to enrich their experiences with the environment, consequently improving exchanges within.

Factor F: extroversion. According to C.G.Jung in”Psychologische Typen” (Zurich, 1920), extroversion is: “… an accomodating nature, apparently open and available, of he who easily adapts to any situation and easily establishes relations, often venturing trustfully and free of worry in difficult situations, overlooking any possible objection” (15).

The relevant improvements in women confirm the importance of the elimination of glasses as a communicative barrier. They also confirm the advantaged women gain more manifest and receive pulsions and inter-personal dynamics with an increased fluidity.

The evaluation of the results shows that men gain a slight improvement, statistically insignificant, while for them the situation with glasses does not carry the same importance it does for women. It seems indeed that men with glasses did find their “modus vivendi”.

Factor H: Daring or better, the ability to face new and ostile situations with interior strength (Bandura 1965)(15).

Women show a slight increase in the improvement of interpersonal relationships. Using CLs, men become more thoughtful and cautious toward external objects.

Factor M: Individuality. In this factor too, women show a definitely interesting psychological change: for them it’s easier to adapt, to learn, to orient themselves towards a standard reference group (Collins 1969)(15). This condition serves the purpose of helping extroversion and relationship with their counterparts that the glasses wearer miope usually refuse (see Factors A, F, H, M). Men do not show any particular sign of change.

Factor O: Anxiety. This is a particularly wide and important trait, which can be seen substantially as a sort of basic threat involving the self and its steadiness(May 1950) or, “the answer to a trauma occurred in our life” (Tuddenham 1965)(15).

It is relevant that men are more vulnerable in this context than women. This peculiarity could be explained in one of two ways. One linked to the hypothesis that glasses represent a barrier to the interior stimuli. In absence of them, the containing barrier to the inner stimuli is gone and the ego alerts itself and generates anxiety, feeling that the exterior world is within reach (5). The second way, generated by direct observation, could be identified in the intrinsic fear of the elevated miope of being forced by physiological reasons to abandon the positive environmental experience acquired, and return to a environmentally limited frontal optics system.

Because of the statistical insignificance of the other factors and mostly because of their unreliability and secondary importance as personality factors, no analysis of them was carried out (Karson 1974)(11).


The research was directed at analysing the link between refractive problem (elevated ametropia) and personality, and was directed at evaluating how possibly the perceptive solution of the former drives to the modification of the latter.

From the data collected it appears clear that a modification of some character traits took place particularly in women.

The scanty cases prevent us from stating that a positive change in the perceptive world can induce important character variations, even though we point out that there is the support of statistical evaluations.

This move our conclusions far respect the considerations carried through by Hirsch and Shapero (4): the characterial imprinting is the determining factor for the refractive state.

The data of our research doesn’t coincide with Hirsch and Shapero views.

Thus, we hope that this work confirms the importance of the instruments of correction that we offer to our ametropes patient and the responsibility we put in carrying on this service.


  • We thanks for the support to the research from contact lenses manufacturer OptoKontakt, Italy.
  • We thanks for the support the Istituto Superiore di Ottica e Optometria B. Zaccagnini, Bologna, Italy.
  • We thanks dr. Angela Montanari (Università di Bologna, Statistical Dept.) for analysis of data.


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2) Scardovi I, Monari P. Metodologia statistica in biologia e medicina;224-299 UTET 1991.

3) The advanced theory of statistics, MG Kendall, A Stuart, vol II°, (1961), Charles Griffin &C., London.

4) Grosvenor “Stato refrattivo e personalità” RIO N. 22; 22-26; 1983.

5) Ancona L. “Dinamica della percezione” 95-116 ; EST Mondadori, Milano 1973.

6) Magdalen D. Vernon “Esperimenti sulla percezione visiva” 134-151; Boringhieri, Torino 1971.

7) Mischel W. ” Lo studio della personalità” 542-589; Il Mulino, Bologna 1982.

8) Neisser U. ” Psicologia Cognitivista” 187-231; Giunti-Martello 1976.

9) Barcella-Locati “Principi fondamentali della valutazione sensoriale”; 43-67; Giunti-Martello 1978.

10) Barcella-Lassito “Manuale delle metodiche di sperimentazione sensoriale”; 25-54; Giunti-Martello 1978.

11) Karson S. O’Dell J.W. “Is the 16 PF factorially valid?” journal of personality assessment N. 38; 104-114; 1974.

12) Karson S. Pool K.B. ” Second order factors in personality measurement” Journal of consulting Psychology N.22; 299-303; 1958.

13) Line W. “The growth of visual perception in children” Brit. J. Psychol. Monogr. Supplement N. 15; 1931.

14) Cattel R.B. “Questionario dei sedici fattori della personalità” forma C, adattamento italiano di Cusin S.G. e Novaga M. Università degli studi di Padova; Manuale suppl. 1978.

15) Wilhelm A. Eysenck H.J. Dizionario di Psicologia, Ediz. Paoline, Friburgo 1975.

16) Rossetti A Gheller P. Manuale di Optometria e contattologia. Zanichelli ed 1993.


Il seguente studio è stato presentato e commentato come poster alla BCLA (British Contact Lens Association) di Birmingham, 2000.


Pietro Gheller, Optom. FIACLE

(Private practice, Imola; Ist. Statale di Ottica Reggio Emilia, Ist. Sup. di Ottica e Optometria B. Zaccagnini, Bologna – Italy)


Anto Rossetti, O.D.

(Istituto Statale di Ottica, Cividale UD – Italy)