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J Vis. 2012 Aug 7;12(8):4. doi: 10.1167/12.8.4.

Dependence of subjective image focus on the magnitude and pattern of high order aberrations.

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Instituto de Óptica, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.


The image formed by the eye's optics is inherently blurred by aberrations specific to the individual's eyes. We examined to what extent judgments of perceived focus depend on the total magnitude as opposed to the specific pattern of blur introduced by the eye's high order aberrations (HOA). An Adaptive Optics system was used to simultaneously correct each subject's wave aberrations and display natural images blurred by simulated aberrations. To isolate the effects of blur magnitude, images were blurred by pure symmetric defocus, and subjects judged the level of the defocus that subjectively appeared best focused (i.e., neither too blurred nor too sharp). These settings were strongly correlated with the native blur magnitude. To isolate the effect of the HOA pattern, retinal image blur was instead maintained at a constant blur (Strehl Ratio) equal to each subject's natural blur, and subjects judged the best-focused image from pairs of images blurred by different patterns of HOA, one selected from 100 patterns, the other blurred by a reference pattern which included the subject's natural HOA, rotated HOA, or nine other HOA patterns. The percentage of images judged as best focused was not systematically higher when filtered with the subject's own HOA pattern. However, all subjects preferred their own HOA to the rotated version significantly more often (57% versus 45% on average across subjects). The representation of subjective image focus thus appears to be driven primarily by the overall amount of blur and only weakly by HOA blur orientation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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