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Vision Res. 1989;29(12):1685-92.

Accommodation and presbyopia in the human eye--aging of the anterior segment.

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  • 1Center for Biophysics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590.


Ocular biometric parameters and accommodative amplitude were measured by various techniques in 100 normal emmetropic human subjects age 18-70 yr. Anterior chamber depth decreased and lens thickness increased linearly over the entire age group. Accommodative amplitude declined linearly until a stable nadir was reached at about age 50 yr. The respective slopes and intercepts of the age-dependent decline in anterior chamber depth were essentially the same for measurements made independently by optical pachmetry, A-scan ultrasonography, and slit-lamp Scheimpflug photography. The age-dependent increase in lens thickness differed in slope and intercept for measurements made by photography and ultrasonography if the generally accepted lenticular sound velocity was assumed for all subjects. However, if putative lenticular sound velocity was adjusted for age, the relationships given by the two techniques were essentially identical. Total anterior segment length (defined as the distance between the anterior corneal and posterior lens surfaces), vitreous cavity length (distance between the posterior lens and anterior retinal surfaces), and total globe length were all independent of age. This constellation of findings indicates that the human lens grows throughout adult life while the globe does not, that thickening of the lens completely accounts for shallowing of the anterior chamber with age, but that the posterior surface of the lens remains fixed in position relative to the cornea and retina.

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