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J.B. Sjostrand, B. Bergman, Z. Popovic; Declining visual acuity in healthy eyes with age. Calculation of loss of retinal ganglion cells in the elderly and old . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(13):5462.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: To investigate the change in visual acuity in eyes without clinical signs of any disease from 70 to 88 years. An additional aim is to calculate the corresponding loss of retinal ganglion cells or functional channels. We find it important to specifically analyze the rate of change after 70 years of age where most previous studies only present scarce data. Methods: We used recently published population data of visual acuity (VA) in healthy eyes of subjects (n=104) from 70 to 88 years of age. An eye was defined as healthy when there were no clinical signs of disease. Loss of retinal ganglion cells or functional channels was predicted from changes of VA by using previously established relationships between cell separations in the retina and spatial resolution. Results: The rate of VA decline above 70 years of age is accelerated compared to previously published data on the decline between 30 and 69 years; 0.09 log MAR/10 years and 0.03 log MAR/10 years, respectively. The calculated annual loss of functional channels corresponding to the VA change is 0.65% before 70 years and 2.0% after 70 years of age. Conclusions: Even though morphological studies have shown only limited age related losses of cells involved in the visual processing of spatial resolution our analysis shows an accelerated decline of visual acuity after 70 years of age in eyes without obvious disease.
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