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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003 Dec;44(12):5438-46.

Monochromatic aberrations as a function of age, from childhood to advanced age.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Research Unit, University of Montreal, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Rosemont Pavilion, 3rd Floor, Lavoisier, Montreal H1T 2H1, Quebec, Canada.



To describe monochromatic optical aberrations of the eye as a function of age.


One hundred fourteen subjects with a spherical equivalent within +/-3.50 D from emmetropia, corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better, and normal findings in an ophthalmic examination were enrolled. The mean age was 43.2 +/- 24.5 years (range, 5.7-82.3). Monochromatic optical aberrations were measured with a Hartmann-Shack wavefront sensor after pharmacological dilation and cycloplegia.


For a 5-mm pupil and for third- to seventh-, third-, fourth-, and fifth- to seventh-order aberrations, as well as for coma and spherical aberrations, the root mean square (RMS) error as a function of age was modeled by a second-order polynomial regression. It decreased progressively through childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood; reached a minimum level during the fourth decade of life, then increased progressively with age, to age 82. For a 5-mm pupil, the mean modulation transfer function (MTF) was reduced in both the child-teenage (5-20 years; n = 29) and the elderly (61-82 years; n = 37) groups versus the middle-aged adult group (41-60 years; n = 24; P < 0.05). In young adults (21-40 years; n = 23) and elderly subjects, the MTF curves were very close and almost superimposed at spatial frequencies higher than 38 cyc/deg.


Aberrations of the whole eye were objectively measured from early childhood to an advanced age, and the relationship between monochromatic aberrations and age has been shown to fit a quadratic model. The results suggest that the definition of emmetropization should be broadened to include the reduction of higher order aberrations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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