Role of high-order aberrations in senescent changes in spatial vision

Sarah L. Elliott, Stacey S. Choi, Nathan Doble, Joseph L. Hardy, Julia W. Evans, John S Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The contributions of optical and neural factors to age-related losses in spatial vision are not fully understood. We used closed-loop adaptive optics to test the visual benefit of correcting monochromatic high-order aberrations (HOAs) on spatial vision for observers ranging in age from 18 to 81 years. Contrast sensitivity was measured monocularly using a two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) procedure for sinusoidal gratings over 6 mm and 3 mm pupil diameters. Visual acuity was measured using a spatial 4AFC procedure. Over a 6 mm pupil, young observers showed a large benefit of AO at high spatial frequencies, whereas older observers exhibited the greatest benefit at middle spatial frequencies, plus a significantly larger increase in visual acuity. When age-related miosis is controlled, young and old observers exhibited a similar benefit of AO for spatial vision. An increase in HOAs cannot account for the complete senescent decline in spatial vision. These results may indicate a larger role of additional optical factors when the impact of HOAs is removed, but also lend support for the importance of neural factors in age-related changes in spatial vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 27 2009


  • Adaptive optics
  • Aging
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • High-order aberration
  • Spatial vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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