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Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 34, Iss. 12 — Dec. 1, 1944
  • pp: 711–717

Visual Factors in Microscopy

WILFRID TAYLOR DEMPSTER  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 34, Issue 12, pp. 711-717 (1944)

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In work with the microscope, maximum returns in the way of crisp imagery, in detail and in visual comfort, as well, are obtained only when the conditions of illumination are carefully adjusted. Since the eye is a physiological mechanism, special conditions beyond those basic to good photomicrography are necessary for high visual efficiency. The problem of vision through a microscope is discussed and the literature relative to visual acuity is reviewed. Conditions for high visual acuity and visual comfort are outlined.

WILFRID TAYLOR DEMPSTER, "Visual Factors in Microscopy," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 34, 711-717 (1944)

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  1. Studies with the eye camera show that when a person views a visual pattern, such as a picture, movements of the eyeball are erratic, jerky, zig-zag, and repetitive. [H. F. Brandt, Am. J. Psychol. 53, 260–268 (1940); Am. J. Psychol. 53, 564–574 (1940).] Even during intense fixation on a small object in the visual field, there are small erratic nystagmic movements, many per second. [F. H. Adler and M. Fliegelman, Arch. Ophthal. 12, 475–483 (1934)].
  2. G. Østerberg, Acta Ophthal. Suppl. 6, 102 pp. (1935).
  3. S. L. Polyak, The Retina (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1941).
  4. A. Gullstrand, Hellnaoltz's Treatise on Physiological Optics (Optical Society of America, Rochester, 1924), edited by G. P. C. Southall, Vol. 1, p. 357.
  5. H. A. Wentworth, Psychol. Monograph 40, No. 3, 1–189 (1930). L. L. Sloan, Arch. Ophthal. 22, 233–251 (1939). C. E. Ferree, G. Rand, and C. Hardy, Arch. Ophthal. 5, 717–731 (1931).
  6. W. S. Stiles and B. H. Crawford, Proc. Roy. Soc. London B112, 428–450 (1933). W.D. Wright and J. H. Nelson, Proc. Phys. Soc. London 48, 401–405 (1936). B. H. Crawford, Proc. Roy. Soc. London B124, 81–96 (1937).
  7. [H. R.] Aubert and [A.] Foerster, Archiv. f. Ophthal. (Graefe) 3 Abt. 2, 1–37 (1857).
  8. H. A. Wentworth, see reference 5.
  9. W. E. LeGros Clark, Physiol. Rev. 22, 205–232 (1942).
  10. S. R. Bruesch and L. B. Arey, J. Comp. Neurol. 77, 631–665 (1942).
  11. S. H. Bartley, Vision, a Study of Its Basis (D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., New York, 1941). W. H. Marshall and S. A. Talbot, Biological Symposia, reference 7 (Visual Mechanisms) 117–164 (1942). G. L. Walls, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 33, 487–505 (1943).
  12. General: P. W. Cobb and F. K. Moss, J. Frank. Inst. 205, 831–847 (1928). P. W. Cobb and F. K. Moss, Trans. Illum. Eng. Soc. 23, 1104–1120 (1928). Important but more restricted studies are: Area: A. H. Holway and L. M. Hurvich, Am. J. Psychol. 51, 687–694 (1938). G. Wald, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 269–287 (1938). W. J. Crozier and A. H. Holway, J. Gen. Physiol. 23, 101–141 (1939). C. H. Graham and N. R. Bartlett, J. Exper. Psychol. 27, 149–159 (1940). Intensity: C. H. Graham and E. H. Kemp, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 639–650 (1938). N. R. Bartlett, J. Exper. Psychol. 31, 380–392 (1942). M. Keller, J. Exper. Psychol. 407–418 (1941). Contrast: E. Ludvigh, Arch. Ophthal. 25, 469–474 (1941). C. Fabry, Proc. Phys. Soc. (London) 48, 747–762 (1936).
  13. Conrad Beck, The Microscope, Theory and Practice (R. and J. Beck, London, 1938).
  14. Glare and decreased contrast caused by lenticular reflections, etc. in field glasses may account for results of Martin and Richards that appear contrary to the weight of evidence to be presented in the next section. A field glass was adjusted for a wide view angle and for a narrow angle and these were compared at high and low intensities for the perception of small dark objects on a bright field. Higher acuity was found with low intensity and wide field or with high intensity and narrow field; high intensity and wide field must have been inefficient because of glare. [L. C. Martin and T. C. Richards, Trans. Opt. Soc. London. 30, 22–33 (1928–29).]
  15. W. T. Dempster, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 34, 695 (1944).
  16. P. W. Cobb, J. Exper. Psychol. 1, 540–566 (1916). J. Steinhardt, J. Gen. Physiol. 20, 185–209 (1936). Holway and Hurvich, reference 12. M. Luckiesh and F. K. Moss, Trans. Illum. Eng. Soc. 34, 571–597 (1939). S. H. Bartley and G. A. Fry, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 24, 342–347 (1934).
  17. P. W. Cobb and L. R. Geissler, Psychol. Rev. 20, 425–447 (1913). R. J. Lythgoe, "The measurement of visual acuity," Privy Council Medical Research Council Spec. Rep. Ser. No. 173, 85 pp. (1932). S. Shlaer, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 165–188 (1937). M. B. Fisher, J. Exper. Psychol. 23, 215–238 (1938).
  18. R. J. Lythgoe and K. Tansley, "The adaptation of the eye; its relation to the critical frequency of flicker," Privy Council Medical Research Council Spec. Res. Ser. No. 134, 72 pp. (1929). S. Hecht and E. L. Smith, J. Gen. Physiol. 19, 979–989 (1936). Perception of flicker is probably not pertinent to microscope vision, but it is of interest to note that this faculty is influenced by peripheral illumination much the way that acuity discrimination is.
  19. K. J. W. Craik, J. Physiol. 92, 406–421 (1938).
  20. C. E. Ferree and G. Rand, Psychol. Rev. 27, 377–398 (1920). C. E. Ferree and G. Rand, Am. J. Ophthal. 7, 843–850 (1924).
  21. Lythgoe, see reference 17.
  22. S. H. Bartley, J. Comp. Psychol. 19, 149–154 (1935).
  23. J. F. Schouten and L. S. Ornstein, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 29, 168–182 (1939).
  24. A. T. Chuprakov, Vestnik. Oftal. 17, 680–685 (1940). From Biol. Abs. 16 (1942), Abs. 19979.
  25. Lythgoe, see reference 17.
  26. H. Sewall, J. Physiol. 5, 132–139 (1884).
  27. M. Luckiesh and F. K. Moss, J. Exper. Psychol. 20, 589–596 (1937). M. Luckiesh and F. K. Moss, Am. J. Ophthal. 22, 616–621 (1939). M. Luckiesh and F. K. Moss, Trans. Illum. Eng. Soc. 35, 19–32 (1940).
  28. M. Luckiesh and F. K. Moss, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 32, 6–7 (1942).
  29. P. Moon, The Scientific Basis of Illuminating Engineering (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1936).
  30. M. Luckiesh and F. K. Moss, The Science of Seeing (D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., New York, 1937). It will be apparent that this is a general statement relating to so-called "normal" eyes. Actually, the best selected "normal" eyes may in certain cases be defective according to special tests [I. Mann and D. Archibald, Brit. Med. J., pp. 387–390 (1944)] and optimal lighting for a specific person may depart slightly from an average optimum.
  31. C. E. Ferree, G. Rand, and F. F. Lewis, Trans. Illum. Eng. Soc. 29, 296–313 (1934). Crozier and Holway, see reference 12.
  32. There is evidence that illumination of one eye in addition improves the sensitivity of the other. [G. W. Hartmann, J. Exper. Psychol. 16, 383–392 (1933); S. V. Kravkov, J. Exper. Psychol. 17, 805–812 (1934).] The effect appears to be more marked when the percipient eye views dark objects on a light field—an approximation to conditions in bright-field microscopy.
  33. John Belling, The Use of the Microscope (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1930).
  34. L. G. H. Hardy, Trans. Illum. Eng. Soc. 29, 364–384 (1934). L. T. Troland, Trans. Illum. Eng. Soc. 26, 107–196 (1931). R. J. Lythgoe, "Illumination and visual capacities," Privy Council Medical Research Council Spec. Rep. Ser. No. 104, 80 pp. (1926).
  35. K. B. Merling-Eisenberg, Nature 139, 416–417 (1937). B. P. Ramsey, E. L. Cleveland, and W. A. Bowen, Jr., J. Opt. Soc. Am. 32, 288–292 (1942).
  36. W. W. Wilcox, J. Gen. Psychol. 15, 405–434 (1936).
  37. Lythgoe, see reference 17.
  38. P. W. Cobb, Am. J. Physiol. 36, 335–346 (1914–15).
  39. Ferree, Rand, and Lewis, reference 31
  40. M. Luckiesh, Elec. World 58, 1252–1254 (1911). H. E. Roaf, Proc. Roy. Soc. London B106, 276–292 (1930). S. Shlaer, E. L. Smith, and A. M. Chase, J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 553–569 (1942). C. E. Ferree and G. Rand, J. Aviation Med. 13, 193–200 (1942).
  41. T. W. Engelmann, Arch. f. d. ges. Physiol. 23, 505–535 (1880).
  42. H. V. Walters and W. D. Wright, Proc. Roy. Soc. London B131, 340–361 (1942).
  43. The author wishes to express his obligation to Dr. G. L. Walls, of the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company, and Dr. O. W. Richards, of the Spencer Lens Company, whose comments and criticism of the manuscript have been most valuable.

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