Objective The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of age on the fluctuations of accommodation.
Method Fluctuations of accommodation were measured on six ‘young’ (16–25 years, mean age 22 years) observers and six ‘older’ (35–48 years, mean age 42 years) observers. Accommodation was continuously recorded using a SRI optometer whilst the observers steadily viewed a high contrast target at stimulus levels 0.25 D, 1.00 D and 2.00 D. Fluctuations were quantified using power spectrum analysis, and frequencies were grouped into bands: low (LFC 0.3–0.6 Hz and 0.3–0.9 Hz) and high (HFC 1.1–2.2 Hz).
Results Accommodation response levels for these stimuli for both groups of observers were quite similar. Fourier analysis was used to generate power spectra so that the fluctuations of accommodation for each observer group could be compared. In general power increased for increasing response levels for both groups of observers, although less power was evident for the older observers in both LFC and HFC bands. Differences in power were not significant at these frequency bands for the two observer groups. When the whole power spectrum is compared these differences became significant with more power evident in the younger cohort.
Conclusion Reductions in both amplitude and speed of accommodation with age are well known, and the decline in magnitude of the fluctuations found here is consistent with a general diminution in accommodation dynamics as the accommodation mechanism ages. For the older group, some of who were near absolute presbyopia, there may be little contribution to power from changes in lens shape and it is possible that small changes in lens position in the eye contribute to the power spectrum.