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Perceptual training improves vision of the elderly
Date:11/22/2010

o the letter, an array of peripherally located lines was oriented diagonally and formed either a vertical or horizontal object, always presented in the same quadrant. That was followed quickly with the display of a masking pattern. The task was to identify the central letter and the peripheral object.

Improvements in vision were not due to practice or familiarity with the task, the researchers determined. And, 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.

After age 60 there is a steady increase in the incidence of falls and automobile crashes that are associated with changes in visual processing. This research indicates that behavioral interventions are likely to be very useful for improving safety and quality of life as we get older, Andersen said.


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Contact: Bettye Miller
bettye.miller@ucr.edu
951-827-7847
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

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