OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 67, Iss. 11 — Nov. 1, 1977
  • pp: 1508–1518

A subjective method for the measurement of monochromatic aberrations of the eye

Howard C. Howland and Bradford Howland  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 67, Issue 11, pp. 1508-1518 (1977)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (1356 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We have designed an aberroscope that differs from Tscherning’s classical instrument in that it makes use of an artificial astigmatism rather than an artificial myopia to defocus the image of a point source of light. A subject views the source through a ±5 D crossed cylinder lens with axes at 45° to the principal axes of an intercalated grid and sees a shadow image of the grid. The distortions of this grid image are quantitatively related to the wave aberration of the eye. Using this device we have obtained drawings for more than 50 subjects. These drawings of the grid pattern have been analyzed by means of a two-dimensional polynomial curve fitting technique that computes Taylor polynomial terms to the fourth order. From the Taylor coefficients it is possible to reconstruct the wave aberration surface. Examination of the Taylor terms so obtained shows that the monochromatic aberrations of the eye are dominated by third-order Taylor terms within the range of physiological pupil sizes, and that spherical aberration frequently appears predominantly about one axis only, a condition that we have termed “cylindrical” aberration. We have computed the optical MTF of our subjects’ eyes and find that the role of aberrations in degrading the MTF may be greater than generally believed.

© 1977 Optical Society of America

Howard C. Howland and Bradford Howland, "A subjective method for the measurement of monochromatic aberrations of the eye," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 67, 1508-1518 (1977)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. A. van Meeteren, "Calculations on the Optical Modulation Transfer function of the Human Eye for White Light," Opt. Acta 21, 395–412 (1974).
  2. H. S. Smirnov, "Measurement of Wave Aberration in the Human Eye," Biophys. 6, 52–66 (1961).
  3. B. Howland, "Use of Crossed Cylinder Lens in Photographic Lens Evaluation," Appl. Opt. 7, 1587–1599 (1968).
  4. M. Tscherning, "Die Monochromatischen abberationen des Menschlichen Auges," Z. Psychol. Physiol. Sinn. 6, 456–471 (1894).
  5. R. Barakat and A. Houston, "The aberrations of non-rotationally symmetric systems and their diffraction effects," Opt. Acta 13, 1–30 (1966).
  6. R. T. Hennessy, "Instrument myopia," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 65, 1114–1120 (1975).
  7. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 5th ed. (Pergamon, New York, 1975), Sec. 9.2.
  8. H. H. Hopkins, "The application of frequency response techniques in optics," Proc. Phys. Soc. 79, 889–919 (1962).
  9. W. J. Smith, Modern Optical Engineering (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1966).
  10. B. Howland, "Electronic aberration synthesizer for measurements of the eye," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66, 1121 (1976).
  11. B. Howland and H. C. Howland, "Subjective measurement of high-order aberrations of the eye," Science 193, 580–582 (1976).
  12. J. Krasukopf, "Further measurements of human retinal images," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 54, 715–716 (1964).
  13. H. Schober, H. Münker, and F. Zolleis, "Die aberration des menschlichen auges und ihre messung," Opt. Acta 15, 47 (1968).
  14. M. Koomen, R. Tousey, and R. Scolnik, "The spherical aberration of the eye," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 370–376 (1949).
  15. F. W. Campbell and R. W. Gubisch, "Optical quality of the Human eye," J. Physiol. 186, 558–578 (1966).
  16. F. W. Campbell and D. G. Green, "Optical and retinal factors affecting visual resolution," J. Physiol. 181, 576–593 (1965).
  17. D. G. Green and F. W. Campbell, "Effect of focus on the visual response to a sinusoidally modulated spatial stimulus," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 1154–1157 (1965).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited