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Neuroscience - Ophthalmology - Physiology


Vision Is Adapted to the Natural Level of Blur Present in the Retinal Image
Published: Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Author: Lucie Sawides et al.

by Lucie Sawides, Pablo de Gracia, Carlos Dorronsoro, Michael A. Webster, Susana Marcos

Background

The image formed by the eye's optics is inherently blurred by aberrations specific to an individual's eyes. We examined how visual coding is adapted to the optical quality of the eye.

Methods and Findings

We assessed the relationship between perceived blur and the retinal image blur resulting from high order aberrations in an individual's optics. Observers judged perceptual blur in a psychophysical two-alternative forced choice paradigm, on stimuli viewed through perfectly corrected optics (using a deformable mirror to compensate for the individual's aberrations). Realistic blur of different amounts and forms was computer simulated using real aberrations from a population. The blur levels perceived as best focused were close to the levels predicted by an individual's high order aberrations over a wide range of blur magnitudes, and were systematically biased when observers were instead adapted to the blur reproduced from a different observer's eye.

Conclusions

Our results provide strong evidence that spatial vision is calibrated for the specific blur levels present in each individual's retinal image and that this adaptation at least partly reflects how spatial sensitivity is normalized in the neural coding of blur.

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