Visual ageing: Unspecific decline of the responses to luminance and colour

Adriana Fiorentini, Vittorio Porciatti, Concetta M. Morrone, David C. Burr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


We have investigated whether ageing affects selectively the responses to equiluminant patterns of pure colour contrast. In two groups of subjects (mean ages 29 and 72 yr) contrast thresholds were measured psychophysically for the detection and for the discrimination of the direction of motion of drifting gratings. The gratings were modulated either in pure luminance contrast (and uniform colour), or pure chromatic contrast (red-green equiluminant gratings). In subjects of the same age groups, visual evoked potentials (VEP) were recorded in response to gratings with either pure luminance contrast or pure colour contrast sinusoidally reversed in contrast at various temporal frequencies. It was shown that psychophysical contrast sensitivity for equiluminant patterns deteriorates significantly with age, and VEP latency increases. However, these effects of ageing on the responses to patterns of pure colour contrast are substantially the same as those observed in the same subjects for stimuli with pure luminance contrast. The results suggest that ageing causes a small and unspecific decline of the response of the visual system to luminance and colour contrast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3557-3566
Number of pages10
JournalVision Research
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Colour
  • Evoked-potential
  • Motion
  • Spatio-temporal frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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