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Dorothe A. Poggel, Claudia Calmanti, Bernhard Treutwein, Hans Strasburger; The Toelz temporal topography study: mapping the visual field across the life span. Journal of Vision 2004;4(11):76. doi: 10.1167/4.11.76.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual functions, especially those involving the processing of temporal information, are generally believed to deteriorate over the life span. The course, patterns, and mechanism(s) of this age-related decline are, however, largely unknown. Because mapping these functions across the visual field yields information on processing mechanisms, we compared the topography of 95 healthy subjects (10 ^ 90 years) with respect to luminance thresholds (static perimetry), temporal resolution (double-pulse resolution, DPR), simple reaction times (RT), and contrast thresholds. Additionally, several visual and attentional functions were determined non-topographically. Thresholds of DPR increased with eccentricity and age with a more pronounced performance decline in the periphery. In older subjects, RT increased slightly and uniformly across the visual field. Luminance thresholds rose in a pattern similar to that observed for DPR. 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 at high age (80–90 years). The data confirm an age-related decrease of visual performance, but the topographical patterns of functional loss differ between functional parameters, even between those of temporal information processing. Interindividual variability is high, particularly in old subjects, i.e. age is a weak predictor of functionality. Age-related changes cannot be attributed solely to optic media and the retina, but visual and cognitive brain processes also affect the characteristics of visual field maps. Our data provide a useful normative basis for psychophysical and neuropsychological studies.
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