A new research study confirms that our color vision may decline as we age.
One of the greatest aspects of entering the Spring season and leaving the Winter months behind is the fact that the world outside switches from a canvas of boring white and grey, to a landscape full of vibrant, colorful Spring flowers and a bright green vision of new budding trees and grass. These vivid Spring colors help to brighten the longer days even further and happily lead us into the Summer months.
However, a new study published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science may share some bad news for those of us who look forward to the bright colors of Spring each and every year. The results of a new vision study suggest that, as we get older and especially once we enter our senior years, our color vision begins to decline. In fact, according to the survey, one-half or more of the people in the oldest age groups of this study showed that they had abnormal color vision.
The Relationship Between Age and Color Vision
While people of all ages can be affected by color vision problems, few people aged younger than 70 are typically affected by color vision loss, according to the survey. After 70, the rate of vision loss significantly increases rapidly through later decades of life.
“We find the colour discrimination declines with age and that the majority of colour defects among the older population are of the blue-yellow type,” wrote Marilyn E. Schneck, PhD, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, California, and colleagues.
When looking at the type of colors that are involved in aging vision loss, the results of the study showed that nearly 80% of the abnormalities involved confusion of pastel shades of blue versus purple and yellow versus green and yellow-green. It was also found that blue-yellow errors are distinct from the red-green errors observed in people with inherited color blindness. And while the two tests had different failure rates, they both detected similar frequencies of blue-yellow errors.
Looking Closely At The Results Of The Study
In the study published in Optometry and Vision Science, researchers administered color vision tests to a random sampling of adults aged between 58 and 102-years-old. 865 older adults were tested in total. The main objective of the study was to assess the different types and rates of color vision abnormalities in different age groups.
Overall, 40% of the participants had abnormal results on 1 of the 2 color vision tests used in the study and 20% failed both tests. However, the failure rate was remarkably higher in older age groups. In fact, although color-vision abnormalities were uncommon in people younger than 70 years of age, they were present in about 45% of people in their mid-70s. The numbers rose with age, with up to 50% of those aged 85 years and older experiencing color-vision abnormalities, and nearly two-thirds of those in their mid-90s.
Unfortunately, it seems as though color vision loss may just be one more aspect of the aging process that affects our vision in the long run. In order to combat issues, such as this one, it is important that seniors have their vision checked regularly so they can be proactive about fighting possible vision diseases and problems. Therefore, if you are above the age of 50, be sure to contact OCLI today to begin scheduling your annual vision exams.