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J Opt Soc Am A. 1993 Jul;10(7):1656-62.

Effects of aging in retinal image quality.

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Instituto de Optica, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, Spain.


The retinal image quality characterized by the modulation-transfer function of the eye was measured for two groups of subjects aged in the late twenties and mid sixties, respectively. In both groups, we obtained modulation transfer functions by using a double-pass method under the same experimental conditions: 4-mm artificial pupil, paralyzed accommodation, and objective control of the refractive state and centering. Results showed lower values of modulation in the retinal image for older subjects compared with the younger subjects. The modulation transfer function ratio is similar to that previously found for contrast-sensitivity measurements with subjects in the same age groups. These results suggest that a significant fraction of the loss in spatial vision with age has an optical origin. Apart from the well-known increase in intraocular scattering, there also appears to be an increment in ocular aberration that causes an additional reduction in the contrast of retinal images.

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