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Age-related change in fast adaptation mechanisms measured with the scotopic full-field ERG



To quantify the response dynamics of fast adaptation mechanisms of the scotopic ERG in younger and older adults using full-field m-sequence flash stimulation.


Scotopic ERGs were measured for a series of flashes separated by 65 ms over a range of 260 ms in 16 younger (20-26, 22.2 ± 2.1; range mean ±1 SD) and 16 older (65-85, 71.2 ± 7) observers without retinal pathology. A short-wavelength (λ peak = 442 nm) LED was used for scotopic stimulation, and the flashes ranged from 0.0001 to 0.01 cd s m(-2). The complete binary kernel series was derived from the responses to the m-sequence flash stimulation, and the first- and second-order kernel responses were analyzed. The first-order kernel represented the response to a single, isolated flash, while the second-order kernels reflected the adapted flash responses that followed a single flash by one or more base intervals. B-wave amplitudes of the adapted flash responses were measured and plotted as a function of interstimulus interval to describe the recovery of the scotopic ERG. A linear function was fitted to the linear portion of the recovery curve, and the slope of the line was used to estimate the rate of fast adaptation recovery.


The amplitudes of the isolated flash responses and rates of scotopic fast adaptation recovery were compared between the younger and older participants using a two-way ANOVA. The isolated flash responses and rates of recovery were found to be significantly lower in the older adults. However, there was no difference between the two age groups in response amplitude or recovery rate after correcting for age-related changes in the density of the ocular media.


These results demonstrated that the rate of scotopic fast adaptation recovery of normal younger and older adults is similar when stimuli are equated for retinal illuminance.

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