Geriatrics 3 pp 425-450 | Cite as

The Aging Retina

  • R. A. Weale


There are two approaches that have been used in the assessment of the senescence of the retina, namely the direct and the indirect. The former involves anatomical, histological and ultrastructural studies, whereas the latter is based on retinal physiology: the senescence of the tissue is inferred from that of its function. In man, the physiological approach can be subdivided; e.g. retinal function can be gauged from the properties of the electro-retinogram (ERG) or the electro-oculogram (EOG), two potentials associated with the neural retina and the pigment epithelium respectively, and recorded when the illumination of the retina is changed. However, retinal function and its senescence are sometimes assessed more presumptively from quantitative sensory experiments, the subjective nature of which occasionally leaves one in doubt as regards the anatomical stage (or stages) wherein senescent changes are believed to occur.


Visual Acuity Retinal Pigment Epithelium Pigment Epithelium Dark Adaptation Outer Nuclear Layer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arden GB, Weale RA (1954) Nervous mechanisms and dark-adaptation. J Physiol (Lond) 125:417–426PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Baurmann H (1960) Über das Phänomen der entoptisch sichtbaren Blutbewegung. Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd 137:621–630Google Scholar
  3. Baurmann H, Fink H, Brockmann F (1974) Die entoptisch sichtbare Blutbewegung in verschiedenen Kreislaufsituationen. Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd 164:220–224PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bird AC, Weale RA (1974) On the retinal vasculature of the human fovea. Exp Eye Res 19:409–417PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black MM (1969) A modified radiographic method for measuring skin thickness. Br J Dermatol 81:661–666PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bok D, Young RW (1979 Phagocytic properties of the retinal pigment epithelium. In: Zinn KM, Marmor MF (eds) The retinal pigment epithelium, part 1. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass, pp 148–174Google Scholar
  7. Bülow N (1968) Light scattering by pigment epithelium granules in the human retina. Acta Ophthalmol 46:1048–1053Google Scholar
  8. Busacca A (1957) La biomicroscopie de la partie centrale du fond de l’oeil. In: Busacca A, Goldmann H, Schiff-Wertheimer S (eds) Biomicroscopie du corps vitré et du fond de l’oeil. Masson, Paris, p 187Google Scholar
  9. Cogan DG (1963) Development and senescence of the human retinal vasculature. Doyne memorial lecture 1963. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK 83:465–489PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Dartnall HJA, Thomson LC (1949) Retinal oxygen supply and macular pigmentation. Nature 164:876PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davson H (ed) 1976) The eye, vol 2A. Visual function in man, 2nd edn. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Denton EJ (1954) Une nouvelle méthode pour déterminer la courbe d’absorption du pourpre rétinien. CR Séances Acad Sci [III] 239:1 315–1 316Google Scholar
  13. Domey RG, McFarland RA (1961) Dark-adaptation as a function of age: Individual prediction. Am J Ophthalmol 51:1262–1268Google Scholar
  14. Dowling JE (1976) The site of visual adaptation. Science 155:273–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dowling JE, Ripps H (1970) Visual adaptation in the retina of the skate. J Gen Physiol 56:491–520PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dowling JE, Wald G (1958) Vitamin A deficiency and night blindness. Proc Nat Acad Sci (USA) 44:648–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fanta H (1976) Netzhautgefäßveränderungen im höheren Lebensalter. Wien Klin Wochenschr 79:713–716Google Scholar
  18. Feeney L, Grieshaber JA, Hogan MJ (1965) The structure of the eye. II. Symposium. Rohen JW (ed) Studies on ocular pigment. Schattauer, Stuttgart, pp 535–548Google Scholar
  19. Feeney L, Grieshaber J, Alvarado J (1966) New observations on human retinal pigment epithelium. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci 5:111Google Scholar
  20. The Framingham Eye Study Monograph (1980) Surv Ophthalmol 24 [Suppl]:472–479Google Scholar
  21. Friedman E, Ts’o MOM (1968) The retinal pigment epithelium. Arch Ophthalmol 79:315–320PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Gartner S, Henkind P (1981) Aging and degeneration of the human macula. 1. Outer nuclear layer and photoreceptors. Br J Ophthalmol 65:23–28PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Glees P, Spoerri PE (1977) Ultrastructure of Cynomologus retina with special emphasis on possible age related changes. J Physiol (Lond) 266:15 P.Google Scholar
  24. Goldstein EB, Berson EL (1970) Rod and cone contributions to the human early receptor potential. Vision Res 10:207–218PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grindle CFJ, Marshall J (1978) Aging changes in Bruch’s membrane and their implications. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK 98:172–175PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Gunkel RD, Gouras P (1963) Changes in scotopic visibility thresholds with age. Arch Ophthalmol 69:4–9PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hecht S (1938) The photochemical basis of vision. J Appl Physics 9:156–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Highman VN, Weale RA (1973) Rhodopsin density and visual threshold in retinitis pigmentosa. Am J Ophthalmol 75:822–832PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Hogan MJ (1967) Bruch’s membrane and disease of the macula - Role of elastic tissue and collagen. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK 87:113–161PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Hoshino M, Mizuno K (1982) Aging of the retina and choroid in the macular region. A light microscopic study an 176 eyes. Acta Soc Ophthalmol Jpn 86:1616–1632Google Scholar
  31. Huerkamp B, Rittinghaus FW (1950) Über die Blutversorgung der menschlichen Retina unter der Einwirkung veränderter Sauerstoffspannung, von Kohlensäure, Hyperventilation und Adrenalin. Pflügers Arch 252:312–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kokott W (1948) Über die funktionelle Struktur der Aderhaut. Albrecht von Graefes Arch Klin Ophthalmol 148:706–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kornzweig AL (1979) Aging of the retinal pigment epithelium. In: Zinn KM, Marmor MF (eds) The retinal pigment epithelium, part 2. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass, pp 478–495Google Scholar
  34. Kuwabara T, Cogan DG (1965) Retinal vascular patterns, VII. A-cellular change. Invest Ophthalmol vis Sci 4:1049–1058Google Scholar
  35. Laatikainen L, Larinkari J (1977) Capillary-free area of the fovea with advancing age. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 16:1154–1157PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Landolt E (1966) Zur Histologie der Altersveränderungen der Aderhaut. Fortschr Augenheilkd 17:138–145Google Scholar
  37. Laughrea M (1982) On the error theories of aging. Exp Gerontol 17:305–317PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lawwill T, Crockett S, Currier G (1977) Retinal damage secondary to chronic light exposure. Doc Ophthalmol 44:379–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lehnert W, Wünsche H (1966) Das Elektroretinogramm in verschiedenen Lebensaltern. Albrecht von Graefes Arch Klin Ophthalmol 170:147–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lerche W (1967) Die Capillardichte in der menschlichen Retina unter Berücksichtigung altersbedingter Veränderungen. Albrecht von Graefes Arch Klin Ophthalmol 172:57–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lerman S, Borkman R (1978) Ultraviolet radiation in the aging and cataractous lens. A survey. Acta Ophthalmol 56:139–149Google Scholar
  42. L’Esperance FA, James WA (1981) Diabetic retinopathy, Chap 2. Epidemiology. Mosby, St LouisGoogle Scholar
  43. Leuenberger PM (1973) Ultrastructure of the aging retinal vascular system, with special reference to quantitative and qualitative changes of capillary basement membranes. Gerontologia 19:1–15PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marshall J (1978) Retinal injury from chronic exposure to light and the delayed effects from chronic exposure to intense light sources. In: Tengroth B (ed) Ergophthalmology. Karolinska Institut, Stockholm, pp 81–104Google Scholar
  45. Marshall J, Grindle CFJ, Ansell PL, Borwein B (1979) Convolution in human rods: an aging process: Br J Ophthalmol 63:181–187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Medvedev ZA (1972) Repetition of molecular-genetic information as a possible factor in evolutionary changes of life span. Exp Gerontol 7:227–228PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meesmann A (1952) Experimentelle Untersuchungen über die antagonistische Innervation der Ciliarmuskulatur. Albrecht von Graefes Arch Klin Ophthalmol 152:335–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Noell WK, Walker VS, Kang BS, Berman S (1966) Retinal damage by light in rats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 5:450–473Google Scholar
  49. Ordy JM, Brizzee KR, Hansche J (1980) Visual acuity and foveal cone density in the retina of the aged rhesus monkey. Neurobiol Aging 1:133–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Orgel LE (1963) The maintenance of the accuracy of protein synthesis and its relevance to ageing. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 49:517–521PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Radnôt Magda (1978) Scanning electron microscopic study of the human retina. Ophthalmologica 176:308–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ripps H (1976) Night blindness and the retinal mechanisms of visual adaptation. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 58:222–232PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Ripps H (1978) Electrophysiology of the visual system (1928–1978). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci [Suppl] 17:46–54Google Scholar
  54. Rushton WAH (1961) Rhodopsin measurement and dark-adaptation in a subject deficient in cone vision, J Physiol (Lond) 156:193–205Google Scholar
  55. Rushton WAH, Cohen RD (1954) Visual purple level and the course of dark-adaptation. Nature 173:301–302PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sarks SH (1976) Ageing and degeneration in the macular region: a clinico-pathological study. Br J Ophthalmol 60:324–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Seitz R, Weisse I, Stötzer H (1977) Altersbedingte und lichtabhängige Netzhautveränderungen. Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd 171:431–422PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Steinberg RH, Wood I, Hogan MJ (1977) Pigment epithelial ensheathment and phagocytosis of extrafoveal cones in human retina. Philos Trans R Soc Lond [Biol] 277:459–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stötzer H, Weisse I, Knappen F, Seitz R (1970) Die Retina-Degeneration der Ratte. Arzneimittelforsch 20:811–817PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Streeten BW (1961) The sudanophilic granules of the human retinal pigment epithelium. Arch Ophthalmol 66:391–398Google Scholar
  61. Tokuyasu K, Yamada E (1960) The fine structure of the retina. V. Abnormal retinal rods and their morphogenesis. J Biophys Biochem Cytol 7:187–191PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Weale RA (1962a) An early stage in the pathology of photocoagulation. Am J Ophthalmol 53:665–669PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Weale RA (1962 b) Further studies of photo-chemical reactions in living human eyes. Vision Res 1:354–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Weale RA (1975) Senile changes in visual acuity. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK 95:36–38PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Weale RA (1978) The eye and aging. Interdiscip Top Gerontol 13:1–13Google Scholar
  66. Weale RA (1982) A biography of the eye-development-growth-age. Lewis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  67. Weale RA (1983) Transparency and power of post-mortem human lenses: variation with age and sex. Exp Eye Res 36:731–741PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Weleber RG (1981) The effect of age on human cone and rod ganzfeld electroretinograms. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 20:392–399PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Wing GL, Blanchard GO, Weiter JJ (1978) The topography and age relationship of lipofuscin concentration in the retinal pigment epithelium. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 17:601–607PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Wolter JR (1957) Die Histogenese der Drüsen im Pigmentepithel der Netzhaut des menschlichen Auges. Klin Monatsbl. Augenheilkd 130:86–95Google Scholar
  71. Yamada E (1958) A peculiar lamellated body observed in the cells of the pigment epithelium of the retina of the bat, Pipistrellus ahramus. J Biophys Biochem Cytol 4:329–331PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Young RW (1981) A theory of central retinal disease. In: Sears ML (ed) New directions in ophthalmic research. Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 237–270Google Scholar
  73. Young RW (1982) The Bowman lecture (1982). Biological renewal. Applications to the eye. Trans Ophthalmol Soc UK 102:42–75PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Zonneveldt A, Van Lith G (1980) The electro-oculogram and its interindividual and intraindividual variability. Ophthalmologica 181:165–169PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zuckermann JL, Miller D, Dyes W, Keller M (1973) Degradation of vision through a simulated cataract. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 12:213–224Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Weale

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations