Imperfect optics may be the eye's defence against chromatic blur.

Abstract:

:The optics of the eye cause different wavelengths of light to be differentially focused at the retina. This phenomenon is due to longitudinal chromatic aberration, a wavelength-dependent change in refractive power. Retinal image quality may consequently vary for the different classes of cone photoreceptors, cells tuned to absorb bands of different wavelengths. For instance, it has been assumed that when the eye is focused for mid-spectral wavelengths near the peak sensitivities of long- (L) and middle- (M) wavelength-sensitive cones, short-wavelength (bluish) light is so blurred that it cannot contribute to and may even impair spatial vision. These optical effects have been proposed to explain the function of the macular pigment, which selectively absorbs short-wavelength light, and the sparsity of short-wavelength-sensitive (S) cones. However, such explanations have ignored the effect of monochromatic wave aberrations present in real eyes. Here we show that, when these effects are taken into account, short wavelengths are not as blurred as previously thought, that the potential image quality for S cones is comparable to that for L and M cones, and that macular pigment has no significant function in improving the retinal image.

journal_name

Nature

journal_title

Nature

authors

McLellan JS,Marcos S,Prieto PM,Burns SA

doi

10.1038/417174a

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2002-05-09 00:00:00

pages

174-6

issue

6885

eissn

0028-0836

issn

1476-4687

pii

417174a

journal_volume

417

pub_type

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