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Vol. 50, No. 3, 2004
Issue release date: 2004
Gerontology 2004;50:177–181

Decline of Vertical Gaze and Convergence with Aging

Oguro H. · Okada K. · Suyama N. · Yamashita K. · Yamaguchi S. · Kobayashi S.
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Background: Disturbance of vertical eye movement and ocular convergence is often observed in elderly people, but little is known about its frequency. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate age-associated changes in vertical eye movement and convergence in healthy elderly people, using a digital video camera system. Methods: We analyzed vertical eye movements and convergence in 113 neurologically normal elderly subjects (mean age 70 years) in comparison with 20 healthy young controls (mean age 32 years). The range of vertical eye movement was analyzed quantitatively and convergence was analyzed qualitatively. Results: In the elderly subjects, the angle of vertical gaze decreased with advancing age and it was significantly smaller than that of the younger subjects. The mean angle of upward gaze was significantly smaller than that of downward gaze for both young and elderly subjects. Upward gaze impairment became apparent in subjects in their 70s, and downward gaze impairment in subjects in their 60s. Disturbance in convergence also increased with advancing age, and was found in 40.7% of the elderly subjects. Conclusion: These findings indicate that the mechanisms of age-related change are different for upward and downward vertical gaze. Digital video camera monitoring was useful for assessing and monitoring eye movements.

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