Previous studies in children report reduced accommodative responses with minus lens-stimulated demands compared with proximal demands. This study seeks to identify age-related changes in accommodative lag with minus lens-stimulated demands in subjects from preschoolers to adults.
Accommodative responses were measured in 101 subjects (3 to 40 years) with at least 10 subjects in each 5-year age bin. Subjects monocularly viewed a high-contrast target at 33.3 cm on the near-point rod of the Grand Seiko autorefractor. Measurements of refraction were taken as the subject viewed the target. Accommodative lag was defined as the difference between demand and measured response. Four additional demands were tested by introducing minus lenses [−1 to −4 diopter (D)] in the spectacle plane of the viewing eye. Maximum accommodative amplitudes were determined by presenting additional lenses until the measured response plateaued or peaked. Accommodative demands and responses were adjusted to the corneal plane.
Accommodative lag showed a significant linear decrease with age for subjects 3 to 20 years for each of the first four demands (3 D, 3.92 D, 4.80 D, 5.67 D, p ≤ 0.013) and approached significance for the largest demand (6.52 D, p = 0.053). For the entire group, accommodative lag increased with increasing stimulus demand, with the largest increase occurring for subjects aged 30 to 40 years as stimulus demands approached the subjects’ maximum amplitude. For subjects aged 3 to 20 years, multilevel modeling analysis revealed a significant relationship between age and lag (p < 0.0001) and a significant relationship between maximum amplitude and the increase in lag per unit increase in stimulus demand (p = 0.0032).
These findings suggest the accuracy of accommodation to minus lens-stimulated accommodation improves throughout the school years and that the degree to which lag increases with increasing demand is related to maximum accommodative amplitude rather than age.