Aging and scotopic sensitivity

Academic Article


  • Scotopic sensitivity was compared in young and older adults in good eye health after individualized correction for age-related changes in lens density and control of pupil diameter. Unlike earlier studies on this topic, fundus photography and a grading scale were used to characterize macular health in the older sample. Twenty-four young adults (mean age 27) and 25 older adults (mean age 70 years) underwent scotopic sensitivity testing after 30 min of dark adaptation. Light sensitivity for a 450 nm target was measured at 4, 7, 32, and 38┬░both nasally and temporally along the horizontal meridian. Lens density was estimated using Sample's method. On average, older adults exhibited a 0.5 log unit decrease in sensitivity even with lens density taken into account, which did not vary with target eccentricity or nasal/temporal hemifield. Although 60% of older subjects exhibited fundoscopic signs of early age-related maculopathy (ARM), even those free from these signs demonstrated a half log unit sensitivity loss, suggesting that this impairment may represent a biological aging process. We found no psychophysical evidence that scotopic sensitivity loss in older adults with relatively good retinal health is accentuated in the peri-macula, even though anatomical studies on donor retinas from older adults have indicated that this area has heightened rod loss.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Vision Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jackson GR; Owsley C; Cordle EP; Finley CD
  • Start Page

  • 3655
  • End Page

  • 3662
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 22