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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2014, Article ID 860493, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/860493
Research Article

Selective Age Effects on Visual Attention and Motor Attention during a Cued Saccade Task

Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PT-PAV 350, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413, USA

Received 6 December 2013; Revised 19 March 2014; Accepted 22 April 2014; Published 12 May 2014

Academic Editor: Stefanie I. Becker

Copyright © 2014 Wendy E. Huddleston et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. Visual information is often used to guide purposeful movement. However, older adults have impaired responses to visual information, leading to increased risk for injuries and potential loss of independence. We evaluated distinct visual and motor attention contributions to a cued saccade task to determine the extent to which aging selectively affects these processes. Methods. Nineteen healthy young (18–28 years) and 20 older (60–90 years) participants performed a cued saccade task under two conditions. We challenged motor attention by changing the number of possible saccade targets (1 or 6). Results. Older adults had difficulty in inhibiting unwanted eye movements and had greater eye movement inaccuracy in the hard condition when compared to the younger adults and to the easy condition. Also, an inverse relation existed between performance on the visual and motor components of the task in older adults, unlike younger adults. Conclusions. Older adults demonstrated difficulty in both inhibiting irrelevant saccade targets and selecting correct saccade endpoints during more complex tasks. The shift in relations among attention measures between the younger and older participants may indicate a need to prioritize attentional resources with age. These changes may impact an older adult’s ability to function in complex environments.