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Color Res Appl. 2000 Dec 27;26(51):S48-S52.

Age-Related Increases in Photopic Increment Thresholds Are Not Due to an Elevation in Intrinsic Noise.

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University of California, Davis, Department of Ophthalmology and Section of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, Sacramento, CA 95817.


Threshold vs. intensity (tvi) functions were measured under conditions in which the slope of the rising branch approximated the deVries-Rose law in order to evaluate the contribution of intrinsic visual noise (dark light, Eigengrau) to age-related elevations in threshold under photopic conditions. Data were obtained from 48 observers (20-88 years) using a temporal 2AFC procedure. The stimulus was centered at 8° nasal retinal eccentricity and consisted of a 560 nm, 14.4' test flash (10 ms) concentric with a steady 500 nm (12.9°) adapting field (13 intensity levels ranging from 0-9 log quanta · sec(-1) · deg(-2)), which resulted in clear scotopic and photopic branches. Photopic thresholds increased linearly with age at a rate of 0.08 log unit per decade at the cornea. The mean slope of the rising portion of the tvi functions (in log-log coordinates) was 0.62, and not correlated with age. Dark light values increased with age, but not significantly. Dark light was a statistically significant predictor of individual differences in absolute photopic threshold, but it is not responsible for age-related increases in threshold under photopic conditions.

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