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Eye Region Gives Hints for Age, Level of Fatigue

People disproportionately scrutinize the eye region when determining the age and level of fatigue of another individual

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals use the eye region to make age and fatigue judgments about another person, suggesting that eyes are disproportionately important for providing facial cues, according to research published in the February issue of Ophthalmology.

Huy Tu Nguyen, M.D., of the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study including 47 individuals who ranged from 18 to 30 years in age. Participants were shown full-face digital images of normal-appearing volunteers. While viewing the images, the gaze and fixation of each participant's left eye was recorded. Participants then assessed the age and fatigue level of the volunteers whose pictures they viewed.

Study participants spent the most time (31.81 percent) looking at the eye region, especially the brows and lower lids, to judge the fatigue level of the person in the picture, the authors note. This was followed by the forehead and the nose regions. Similarly, the eye region was most observed when assessing age (27.22 percent), followed by the forehead and nose regions, the researchers report. Again, the brows and lower lids were most frequently observed, and the brows and glabella were significantly more frequently used when the pictures of the oldest volunteers were scrutinized.

"These results suggest that aesthetic or functional surgery to the eye region may be one of the most effective interventions in enhancing the appearance of an individual," the authors write.

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