Aging Effects on the Optics of the Eye

  • Pablo Artal
Part of the Aging Medicine book series (AGME)


Different factors contribute to the increase in optical aberrations with age: possible modifications in the aberrations of the cornea, the lens, or even their relative contributions. The aberrations associated with the anterior surface of the cornea slightly change with age in a normal population, but the aberrations of the crystalline lens change due to the continuous modification of the lens shape with age. As the lens grows, its dimensions, curvatures, and refractive index change, altering the lens aberrations. Glasser and Campbell found a large change in the spherical aberration of excised older lenses measured in vitro. Another important factor to be considered is the nature of aberration coupling within the eye. It was shown that, in young subjects, the lens tends to compensate part of the corneal aberrations to produce an improved retinal image. As the aberrations of the lens change with age, it is quite plausible that this compensation is partially or completely lost. This explains the overall increase in aberration and the reduction of retinal image quality throughout the life span. This chapter will review the current ideas on the change of ocular aberrations with age and the possible impact this will have on the design of some ophthalmic devices, such as intraocular lenses.


Optics of the eye Increase in optical aberrations Aging of the eye Refractive index Ophthalmic devices 



Part of the research described in this chapter has been supported by the Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (MEC) in Spain, and by AMO_Groningen (The Netherlands). The author also wishes to thank all his collaborators in his laboratory at Murcia University and elsewhere who greatly contributed in many of the aspects of the research briefly described here.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pablo Artal
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Optica (Departamento de Fisica)Universidad de MurciaMurciaSpain

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