Cone- and Rod-Mediated Dark Adaptation Impairment in Age-Related Maculopathy

Academic Article


  • Objective: To examine impairment in cone- versus rod-mediated dark adaptation in the parafovea of persons with age-related maculopathy (ARM). Design: Cross-sectional. Participants: Older adults with ARM at various severity levels from early to advanced (n = 83) and in good retinal health (n = 43), as determined by stereo fundus photographs evaluated with the Age-Related Eye Disease Study severity scale. Methods: Dark adaptation, both cone- and rod-mediated components, was measured with a modified Humphrey Field Analyzer using a target located 12° in the inferior visual field on the vertical meridian, after exposure to a 98% bleach. Information was collected on self-reported problems for activities at night or under dim illumination (Low Luminance Questionnaire [LLQ]) and for activities during daytime conditions (modified National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire [NEI VFQ]). Main Outcome Measures: Cone- and rod-mediated parameters of dark adaptation. Results: Compared with older adults in normal retinal health, ARM patients had significant impairments in rod-mediated parameters of dark adaptation (rod-cone break, rod slope, rod sensitivity) (P<0.0001), which were increasingly abnormal as disease severity increased. Cone-mediated parameters (cone time constant and cone sensitivity) were not impaired. Low Luminance Questionnaire scores and NEI VFQ scores decreased with increased ARM severity (P = 0.0004 and P = 0.0005, respectively); the percent decrease in LLQ scores as a function of disease severity was larger in magnitude than the percent decrease in NEI VFQ scores. Conclusions: Disturbances in rod-mediated but not cone-mediated dark adaptation in the parafovea at 12° in the inferior field on the vertical meridian are characteristic of ARM even in its early phases. © 2007 American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  • Published In

  • Ophthalmology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Owsley C; McGwin G; Jackson GR; Kallies K; Clark M
  • Start Page

  • 1728
  • End Page

  • 1735
  • Volume

  • 114
  • Issue

  • 9