The vision of elderly people can be improved through perceptual training, say researchers at UC Riverside-Boston University.
The researchers conducted a series of experiments to determine whether repeated performance of certain visual tasks that are at the limits that one can see can improve the vision of adults older than 65.
"We found that with just two days of training, in one-hour sessions, with difficult stimuli resulted in older subjects seeing as well as younger college-age subjects," said G. John Andersen professor of psychology, UCR.
Age-related changes in vision - such as contrast sensitivity, dark adaptation, visual acuity, spatial vision, orientation, depth perception and motion perception - have been substantiated in numerous previous studies.
This is the first study that demonstrates that perceptual training can be used to improve vision among the elderly in the earliest levels of visual processing.
The improved performance from perceptual training was maintained for at least three months. These results show a high degree of brain plasticity among the elderly and suggest that this technique is useful for recovering from declines in vision due to normal aging.
"Given the clear impact of age-related declines in vision on driving, mobility, and falls, the present study suggests that perceptual learning may be a useful tool for improving the health and well-being of an older population," the researchers concluded.
The study appears in the online issue of the Journal of Vision.