Purpose: To establish age-related, normal limits of monocular and binocular spatial vision under photopic and mesopic conditions.
Methods: Photopic and mesopic visual acuity (VA) and contrast thresholds (CTs) were measured with both positive and negative contrast optotypes under binocular and monocular viewing conditions using the Acuity-Plus (AP) test. The experiments were carried out on participants (age range from 10 to 86 years), who met pre-established, normal sight criteria. Mean and ± 2.5σ limits were calculated within each 5-year subgroup. A biologically meaningful model was then fitted to predict mean values and upper and lower threshold limits for VA and CT as a function of age. The best-fit model parameters describe normal aging of spatial vision for each of the 16 experimental conditions investigated.
Results: Out of the 382 participants recruited for this study, 285 participants passed the selection criteria for normal aging. Log transforms were applied to ensure approximate normal distributions. Outliers were also removed for each of the 16 stimulus conditions investigated based on the ±2.5σ limit criterion. VA, CTs and the overall variability were found to be age-invariant up to ~50 years in the photopic condition. A lower, age-invariant limit of ~30 years was more appropriate for the mesopic range with a gradual, but accelerating increase in both mean thresholds and intersubject variability above this age. Binocular thresholds were smaller and much less variable when compared to the thresholds measured in either eye. Results with negative contrast optotypes were significantly better than the corresponding results measured with positive contrast (p < 0.004).
Conclusions: This project has established the expected age limits of spatial vision for monocular and binocular viewing under photopic and high mesopic lighting with both positive and negative contrast optotypes using a single test, which can be implemented either in the clinic or in an occupational setting.