Dark adaptation and the acuity/luminance response in senile macular degeneration (SMD)

Am J Optom Physiol Opt. 1983 Aug;60(8):645-50. doi: 10.1097/00006324-198308000-00001.


Patients with senile macular degeneration (SMD) often complain of problems with adaptation and have best acuity under a restricted range of lighting conditions. We investigated dark adaptation and acuity over a wide range of luminances in eight SMD patients and six age-matched controls. Some patients showed evidence of altered dark adaptation, with a much longer time required to reach asymptotic sensitivity levels than shown by normals; others had difficulty with spatial resolution at different light levels. There was good correlation between symptoms and test findings; all but one patient who reported difficulties with adaptation demonstrated either retarded adaptation, aberrant acuity/luminance response, or both. These data provide evidence that the processes which adjust the sensitivity of the retina and the spatial summation properties of the retina are disrupted in SMD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dark Adaptation*
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Visual Acuity*