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J Vis. 2008 Apr 28;8(4):29.1-20. doi: 10.1167/8.4.29.

Age-related changes in optical and biometric characteristics of emmetropic eyes.

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School of Optometry and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane,Queensland, Australia.


We measured optical and biometric parameters of emmetropic eyes as a function of age. There were approximately 20 subjects each in age groups 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60-69 years with similar male and female numbers. One eye was tested for each subject, having spherical equivalent in the range -0.88 D to +0.75 D and <or=0.50 D astigmatism. Despite considerable data scatter, we found significant age changes: anterior chamber depth decreased 0.011 mm/year, lens central thickness increased 0.024 mm/year, anterior segment depth increased 0.013 mm/year, eye length increased 0.011 mm/year, anterior lens radius of curvature decreased 0.044 mm/year, and lens equivalent refractive index decreased 0.0003/year. Males had higher anterior corneal radii of curvature (0.16 mm), lower lens equivalent refractive index (0.006), longer vitreous lengths (0.51 mm), and longer axial lengths (0.62 mm) than females. Superficially, the results suggest that eyes get bigger as they age. However, results can be related to refraction patterns in which refraction is stable in 20s to 40s and then moves in the hypermetropic direction. It is likely that several young subjects will become hypermetropic as they age, and it is possible that some of the older subjects were myopic when younger.

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