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Vision Res. 2007 Jul;47(16):2179-86. Epub 2007 Jun 29.

Genetic influence on contrast sensitivity in middle-aged male twins.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Boston University, 648 Beacon St., 2nd floor, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Contrast sensitivity is strongly associated with daily functioning among older adults, but the genetic and environmental contributions to this ability are unknown. Using the classical twin method, we addressed this issue by examining contrast sensitivity at five spatial frequencies (1.5-18 cycles per degree) in 718 middle-aged male twins from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA). Heritability estimates were modest (14-38%), whereas individual-specific environmental influences accounted for 62-86% of the variance. Identifying the types of individual-specific events that impact contrast sensitivity may suggest interventions to modulate this ability and thereby improve overall quality of life as adults age.

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