NIST Says Age Not An Issue For Irises

According to a new study from the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Iris Exchange (IREX) regarding the stability of iris recognition over time, and despite previous reports to the contrary, aging of the human eye will not affect the performance of iris scanning biometric systems.

Iris Exchange was created to support the expanding iris-based biometric marketplace and has produced a number of studies in support of various applicable areas including iris image quality assessment and standardization. The IREX VI study takes aim at assertions made in 1994 by the ophthalmologists who patented iris recognition claiming that the human iris’ features remain extremely stable over “many years.” A study out of the University of Notre Dame that is cited in the IREX report had indicated that the iris is susceptible to aging effects leading to higher rejection rates over time. The NIST says this is false.

The shocking news comes after the NIST pooled data from nine years of collected iris scans that lead the organization to conclude that despite a small percentage of individuals whose irises do become less recognizable due to disease or adverse aging effect, it is pupil dilation that is the culprit of the false rejection rates which lead to the highly publicized original belief that age is a factor in iris recognition.