Age-Related Deficits in Binocular Vision Are Associated With Poorer Inhibitory Control in Healthy Older Adults

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A robust association between reduced visual acuity and cognitive function in older adults has been revealed in large population studies. The aim of this work was to assess the relation between stereoacuity, a key aspect of binocular vision, and inhibitory control, an important component of executive functions. Inhibition was tested using the antisaccade task in older adults with normal or reduced stereopsis (study 1), and in young adults with transiently reduced stereopsis (study 2). Older adults with reduced stereopsis made significantly more errors on the antisaccade task in comparison to those with normal stereopsis. Specifically, there was a significant correlation between stereoacuity and antisaccade errors (r = 0.27, p = 0.019). In contrast, there were no significant differences in antisaccade errors between the normal and reduced stereopsis conditions in the young group. Altogether, results suggest that the association between poorer stereopsis and lower inhibitory control in older adults might arise due to central nervous system impairment that affects the processing of binocular disparity and antisaccades. These results add to a growing body of literature, which highlights the interdependence of sensory and cognitive decline in older adults.

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