Human aging and spatial vision

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Science  12 Sep 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4462, pp. 1255-1256
DOI: 10.1126/science.7403884


The ability to see spatial structures of a wide range of sizes was measured for two groups of observers (mean ages, 18 and 73 years). All observers had good visual acuity. Although older and younger observers did not differ in ability to see targets with fine structure (high spatial frequencies), older observers were only one-third as sensitive to targets with coarse structure (low spatial frequencies) as were younger observers or to changes in criterion. Older observers were also less able than younger observers to see moving targets. The reduced sensitivity of the older observers may adversely affect routine perceptual activities, such as face recognition and visually guided postural behavior, that depend upon low spatial frequencies.