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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 42, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 1952
  • pp: 416–420

The Effect of Pupil Size on Visual Acuity for Photometrically Equated Test Fields at Various Levels of Luminance

HERSCHEL LEIBOWITZ  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 42, Issue 6, pp. 416-420 (1952)

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Visual acuity for a grating test object was determined as a function of artificial pupil diameter at five luminance levels. In order to eliminate the effect of variation of retinal illuminance with pupil size changes as a factor in acuity, the luminance of the acuity test field as viewed through each artificial pupil was previously adjusted to match a reference field of constant luminance viewed by the other eye through a fixed pupil at five luminance values of the reference field. Selection of maximum artificial pupil size was made on the basis of photographs of the natural pupil taken under conditions similar to those which obtained in the main experiment. As pupil size is increased, acuity improves rapidly at first and then more slowly before reaching a maximum value of acuity. Further increase in pupil size, when possible, results in lowered acuity. The rise in acuity up to the maximum is steeper the higher the luminance level, whereas the drop in acuity which occurs when the pupil is made even larger is steeper the lower the luminance level. The results are interpreted as reflecting the increased importance of aberrations as a factor in acuity as pupil size is increased and the luminance level is lowered. The data are plotted to show the effect of pupil size as a parameter of the acuity-reference luminance function.

HERSCHEL LEIBOWITZ, "The Effect of Pupil Size on Visual Acuity for Photometrically Equated Test Fields at Various Levels of Luminance," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 416-420 (1952)

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  1. According to the recommendations of the O.S.A. Colorimetry Committee (J. Opt. Soc. Am. 34, 245 (1944)) retinal illuminance is proportional to the product of the luminous flux emitted or reflected from the test object (specified in units of luminance) and pupil size. The assumption is made in the present study that two fields of the same size and color, each viewed simultaneously by different eyes and imaged on comparable retinal areas, will produce equal retinal illuminance when matched for equality by the subject independent of the sizes of the entrance pupils of two eyes.
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