Visual Acuity and the Crowding Effect in 8- to 17-Year-Old Schoolchildren
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Visual acuity (VA) in 292 schoolchildren aged 8–17 years was measured using Landolt Cs, E letters, and rectangular gratings. With the forced choice procedure, the VA measured with Landolt Cs was 1.4 times higher than with other targets, suggesting analysis of the whole image rather than its gaps by the visual system. In addition, the effect of surrounding images on VA estimates was studied with Landolt Cs, E letters, and gratings surrounded by bars, E letters, and gratings, respectively. A crowding effect, i.e., a worse perception of test objects surrounded by other images, was revealed. However, the perception of Landolt Cs, E letters, and gratings showed age-dependent differences. The separation between the stimulus and surrounding images at which the perception of gratings and other images worsened decreased with age increasing up to 16–17 and 12 years, respectively. The age-related differences were explained by the immaturity of selective-attention mechanisms.
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