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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 49, Iss. 1 — Jan. 1, 1959
  • pp: 41–44

Retinal Light Distribution for Circular Apertures in Maxwellian View

GERALD WESTHEIMER  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 49, Issue 1, pp. 41-44 (1959)

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The effect of size of pupil of the eye upon the intensity distributions in retinal images of circular apertures observed in Maxwellian view is treated theoretically. Diffraction images of a small source of light are formed in the pupil and are governed by circular apertures whose angular diameters are of the order of minutes of arc. Quantitative data are presented to illustrate the manner in which sharpness of the retinal image of the aperture is increased by increasing the number of diffraction rings that are admitted to the eye. Amplitude and intensity distributions are included for a given diameter of aperture together with various sizes of pupil (including some annular pupils), and for various diameters of aperture together with one size of pupil. Equations are presented for calculating intensity distributions as modified by the Stiles-Crawford effect or by the effect of defocused eyes.

GERALD WESTHEIMER, "Retinal Light Distribution for Circular Apertures in Maxwellian View," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 49, 41-44 (1959)

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  1. M. Born, Optik (Julius Springer, Berlin, 1933).
  2. Equation (2) is similar to one developed by H. Osterberg and G. E. Pride [J. Opt. Soc. Am. 40, 14 (1950)] for the case of a microscope objective. The approach of Osterberg and Pride is. considerably more general since it starts off without the premise made here, viz., that the geometrical image of S must be in A3.Osterberg and Pride's elegant development can be shown to lead to Eq. (2) if a number of assumptions are made, including the one that all angles are small enough to be regarded as equal to their sines and tangents. In removing the restriction that S be focused on A3, Osterberg and Pride's equation retains validity beyond the case of Maxwellian imagery considered in this paper.
  3. E. L. O'Neill, IRE Trans. on Inform. Theory. IT2, No. 2, 56 (1956).
  4. M. Francon, "Interférences, diffraction et polarisation," Encyclopedia of Physics, edited by S. Flügge (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1956), Vol. XXIV.
  5. This is strictly only valid if P1 is at the first focal plane of lens A2. As a first approximation it can be regarded to hold also for small degrees of simulated ametropia.
  6. H. H. Hopkins, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London) A217, 408 (1953).
  7. S. Shlaer, J. Gen. Physiol. 21, 165 (1937).

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