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D.A. Poggel, C. Calmanti, B. Treutwein, H. Strasburger; Mapping the Visual Field Across the Life Span: The Toelz Temporal Topography Study . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):4601.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: The capacity for processing visual information, especially in the temporal domain, is generally believed to deteriorate with age. However, the course, patterns, and mechanisms of this decline over the life span are largely unknown. Our goal was to elucidate the characteristics of visual processing and their change over time. Methods: We compared the visual field topography of 95 healthy subjects (10–90 years) with respect to luminance thresholds (static perimetry), temporal resolution (double–pulse resolution, DPR), simple reaction time (RT), and contrast thresholds as well as several non–topographical attentional and visual functions. Results: DPR thresholds increased with eccentricity and age. We observed a more pronounced performance decline in the periphery. RT increased only slightly and uniformly across the visual field in older subjects. Perimetric luminance thresholds rose in a pattern similar to the DPR maps. Contrast thresholds, alertness, divided and spatial attention, and saccadic exploration showed age–related changes and complex correlation patterns with the main outcome variables. Performance was almost constant up to the age of sixty; a marked decrease was observed late in life (80–90 years). Conclusions: The age–related decrease of visual performance was confirmed, but the topographical patterns of functional loss differ between outcome measures, even between those of temporal information processing. Age is a weak predictor of functionality, as interindividual variability is high, especially in old subjects. Visual and cognitive brain processes also affect the characteristics of visual field maps, i.e. age–related deterioration cannot be attributed exclusively to optic media and the retina. Our data provide a useful normative basis for psychophysical and neuropsychological studies.
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