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J Refract Surg. 2003 Sep-Oct;19(5):S585-7.

Adaptive optics for vision: the eye's adaptation to point spread function.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Optica, Departamento de Física, Universidad de Murcia, Campus de Espinardo (Edificio C), 30071 Murcia, Spain.



Despite the fact that ocular aberrations blur retinal images, our subjective impression of the visual world is sharp, which suggests that the visual system compensates for subjective influence. If the brain adjusts for specific aberrations of the eye, vision should be clearest when looking through a subject's typical wave aberration rather than through an unfamiliar one. We used adaptive optics techniques to control the eye's aberrations in order to evaluate this hypothesis.


We used adaptive optics to produce point spread functions (PSFs) that were rotated versions of the eye's typical PSF by angles in 45 degrees intervals. Five normal subjects were asked to view a stimulus with their own PSF or with a rotated version, and to adjust the magnitude of the aberrations in the rotated case to match the subjective blur of the stimulus to that seen when the wave aberration was in typical orientation.


The magnitude of the rotated wave aberration required to match the blur with the typical wave aberration was 20% to 40% less, indicating that subjective blur for the stimulus increased significantly when the PSF was rotated.


These results support the hypothesis that the neural visual system is adapted to an eye's aberrations and has important implications for correcting higher order aberrations with customized refractive surgery or contact lenses. The full visual benefit of optimizing optical correction requires that the nervous system compensate for the new correction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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