Aging, senile miosis and spatial contrast sensitivity at low luminance

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to determine how aging affects spatial contrast sensitivity at low light levels and to examine whether senile miosis, which reduces retinal illuminance in the aged eye, underlies any observed sensitivity loss. Contrast thresholds for targets having a range of spatial frequencies were measured in young (n = 13, Mage = 24) and older (n = 11, Mage = 73) adults who were free from identifiable ocular pathology. Measurements were carried out at three luminance levels spanning a three log unit range. Results indicated that older adults' loss in contrast sensitivity not only increased with increasing spatial frequency, but also became more pronounced with decreases in luminance level. Additional threshold measurements where pupil diameter was varied indicated that senile miosis was not responsible for older adults' loss in spatial vision at any light level tested. Rather, older adults' miotic pupil tended to have a positive effect on their spatial vision in that it slightly improved their contrast sensitivity. © 1988.
  • Published In

  • Vision Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sloane ME; Owsley C; Alvarez SL
  • Start Page

  • 1235
  • End Page

  • 1246
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 11