The changes with age in the accommodation responses to dynamic stimuli can reveal useful information on the factors underlying presbyopia development. Analysis of the monocular accommodation responses of 19 normal observers (ages 18–49 years) to stimuli whose vergence varied sinusoidally with time at different temporal frequencies (peak-to-peak stimulus 1.33–2.38 D, at 0.05–1.00 Hz) showed that at all ages both the gain and phase of the response were essentially linear functions of the temporal frequency. Extrapolation of least-squares, regression line fits to the gain data for each subject gave the gain at zero frequency, G0, and the cut-off frequency, fc, at which the gain fell to zero. G0 reduced with age but fc remained essentially constant at about 1.7 Hz, up to at least the age of about 40. The magnitude of the response to step stimuli covering the same stimulus range was well correlated with the value of G0. The linear changes in phase lag with temporal frequency corresponded to simple time delays td. The time lag varied from close to zero for the youngest subjects to about 0.5 s for the subjects in their late forties. There was substantial variation between the responses of subjects of similar age: those subjects with high values of G0 also tended to have low values of td, both effects probably being due to the superior ability of some individuals to predict the sinusoidal changes in the accommodation stimulus. Comparison of theoretical step responses, derived by applying linear theory to the parameters obtained from the results for the sinusoidal stimuli, with the actual responses to unpredictable steps for the same subjects supports the view that prediction effects and other possible factors make linear theory inapplicable to this type of data. The results are discussed in the context of current ideas on the development of presbyopia: it is suggested that the constancy of fc with age is the result of the ciliary body maintaining its efficiency, whereas the fall in G0 and increase in td result from increases in lens rigidity.
- response dynamics
- vision science