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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 43, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 1953
  • pp: 435–441

Effectiveness of Red Light on Dark Adaptation

WALTER R. MILES  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 43, Issue 6, pp. 435-441 (1953)

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Some studies of 1941–1942 indicated that adaptation under red light was faster than in darkness. A recent (May 26, 1952) research report originating from the Naval Air Station at Pensacola seems to show a facilitative effect of red light on dark adaptation and has renewed interest in this problem. Some of the earlier data purporting to show this effect, additional material previously unpublished, and also new studies made at Yale by the method of simultaneous differential monocular adaptation are here presented and discussed. Adaptation goggles were used for 25 min under illumination of 8 mL. The filter over one eye was a glass disk made of Corning No. 2403, deep red, 3.5 percent photopic transmission, over the other eye an opaque cardboard disk which excluded all light. Dark-adaptation thresholds (Hecht-Schlaer adaptometer) violet light (Corning 5513), measured alternately on the two eyes showed for 16 college student subjects lower values, i e., increased light sensitiveness for the eyes adapted in darkness. In the period 6 min after removing the goggles the mean threshold difference between results for red and opaque procedures in the first test was -0.153 log µµ, >P = 0.01; in the second test with the goggles reversed on the two eyes the mean difference favoring the opaque side was -0.182 log I, µµ, >P= 0.01. The earlier and later results are not easily harmonized. The author argues in favor of the monocular method as an appropriate one for the study of this problem.

WALTER R. MILES, "Effectiveness of Red Light on Dark Adaptation," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 435-441 (1953)

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  1. D. Y. Solandt, Proc. Natl. Research Council Can. Assoc. Comm. Aviation Med. Research. (October 4, 1940), p. 2; and Hartline, McDonald, and Millikan, Natl. Research Council U. S. Comm. Aviation Med. Repf. No. 4 (March, 1941), p. 3, mimeo.
  2. This Yale research and development had no military or governmental contract supporting it. We regarded the results as worthy of confidential status and proceeded accordingly making no publication at the time. While in England in May, 1942, on a mission for OSRD the writer first learned that the U. S. Navy Dept. had issued an unclassified report describing red dark adaptation goggles, and the technique of their use. See "The use of the eyes at night," Liljencrantz, Swanson, and Carson, Night Vision Board, Navy Dept. Bur. Med. and Surg. Washington, D. C. (April 15, 1942), pp. 1–23, 6 Figs. mimeographed; published also in U. S. Naval Institute Proc. (June, 1942).
  3. W. R. Miles, "Red goggles for producing dark adaptation," Federation Proceedings, Vol. 2, No. 2, June, 1943, pp. 109–115, part of Symposium on the Special Senses in Relation to Military Problems, Hallowell Davis, Chairman, pp. 107–129.
  4. Admiralty Research Laboratory (Great Britain) "Dark adaptation following exposure to red, orange and white light for different times and at different intensities." ARL/N6/0.360, (November 19, 1942), 4 pages, 4 tables, and 10 figures.
  5. "A facilitative effect of red light on dark adaptation." Report by Lt. Samuel C. McLaughlin, Jr., MSC, USN, Research Report. U. S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida (May 26, 1952), 7 pages, and 2 tables, unclassified.
  6. The threshold determinations reported here for 1941 and 1942 were all taken by the same skilled assistant, Mrs. Marion R. Chapanis, whose cooperation I gratefully acknowledge.
  7. See reference 3 for full details. Reprints are available.
  8. Admiralty Research Laboratory (Great Britain) "Effect of red, orange and white light on rates of dark adaptation." ARL/N4/0.360, (October 9, 1942), 4 pages, 8 tables, and 3 figures.
  9. The threshold determinations reported here for 1943 were all taken on the Hecht-Schlaer adaptometer No. 8 by Mrs. Eleanore F. Hubbard who had 3 months training and experience with the adaptometer in other experiments before beginning this reported series on monocular adaptation. Mrs. Hubbard's assistance is gratefully acknowledged.
  10. W. M. Rowland and L. L. Sloan, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 34, 601–604, (1944); S. Hecht and Yun Hsia, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 35, 261–267, (1945); and Z. J. Schoen and F. L. Dimmick, U. S. Naval Med. Lab., U. S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut (April 9, 1948) NM 003 024(X-757 (Av-387-k)) Progress Report No. 1.
  11. About 7 percent of the threshold values entered in Tables V and VI arc based on one or two measurements made in a 6-min period.
  12. This represents the time spent in the light adaptation room, an additional 5 min were required before the light in the adaptometer room was turned off and the goggles were removed.
  13. See reference 3, page 113.
  14. J. L. Kennedy and R. C. Travis, J. Comp. Physiol Psychol. 41, 203–210, (1948).
  15. A. Chapanis, How We See: A Summary of Basic Principles, pp. 3–60, (see especially pp. 20–22). Chapter 1, in Part I, "General visual problems" in "Human factors in undersea warfare," prepared by the Panel on Psychology and Physiology, Committee on Undersea Warfare, National Research Council, Washington, D. C. Pp. x+5 4 1, 1949.

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