Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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The aging eye - how does vision change as one grows older?

The human visual system deteriorates throughout adult life. This is quite normal. The visual system is often characterized as "young" until it reaches about 40 years of age. After that, normal changes to the aging eye become more noticeable as visual capabilities decrease.

As one grows older, less light reaches the back of the eyes. The pupils get smaller and the lens inside the eye becomes thicker, absorbing more light. The lens also scatters more light as one ages, adding a "luminous veil" over images on the retina, which reduces the distinctness (or contrast) and sharpness of objects, and the vividness of colors.



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