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Peter Karwatsky, Olga Overbury, Jocelyn Faubert; Red-Green Chromatic Mechanisms in Normal Aging and Glaucomatous Observers. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(8):2861-2866. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.03-1256.
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purpose. This study was designed to determine whether normal aging and glaucoma are associated with red-green (R/G) chromatic processing abnormalities, a function that is primarily performed by the parvocellular visual pathway.
methods. Chromatic processing mechanisms were examined in 98 glaucomatous observers (between the ages of 49 and 93 years; mean age, 70.8 ± 9.4 [SD]) and 67 normal observers (between the ages of 49 and 88; mean age, 70.6 ± 10.6 years) with the use of the minimum-motion and motion-nulling paradigms. Phakic glaucomatous (n = 60; mean age, 68.7 ± 8.9 years) and normal (n = 32; mean age, 69.8 ± 10.6 years) and pseudophakic glaucomatous (n = 38; mean age, 74 ± 9.4 years) and normal (n = 35; mean age, 71.4 ± 10.6 years) subjects were tested to evaluate the effects of lenticular aging on color perception.
results. Phakic observers (normal or glaucomatous) displayed significantly different minimum-motion values than did both their younger counterparts and all the pseudophakic subjects. These results suggest that normal aging with the presence of a natural lens is accompanied by a significant decrease in green-light sensitivity, an effect that is not exacerbated by glaucoma and is primarily related to optical factors. The data also revealed no differences in color motion perception between groups, indicating that the higher cortical mechanisms of the parvocellular pathway implicated in the analysis of information about the middle and long wavelengths of the visible spectrum are not selectively affected by the disease process and normal aging.
conclusions. Normal aging and glaucoma do not produce significant R/G chromatic processing deficits at retinal and postretinal levels when optical factors are excluded. The authors propose the hypothesis that glaucoma-related effects on motion perception and blue-on-yellow perimetry should be viewed as evidence of loss of ganglion cells that necessitates integration of information over larger retinal areas and more receptor cells than in the R/G chromatic system. Ganglion cells with large receptive fields involve more neural connections and are less numerous than those that respond to R/G information. The functional consequence of this could be that the loss of a single ganglion cell with a larger receptive field would have a greater impact on visual function than the loss of a ganglion cell with a smaller receptive field, such as the ones that process R/G information. The authors believe that glaucoma-induced functional loss is best viewed as related to receptive field structure and function rather than to anatomic cell-type damage.
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