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Sangeetha Metlapally, Jianliang L. Tong, Humza J. Tahir, Clifton M. Schor; The impact of higher-order aberrations on the strength of directional signals produced by accommodative microfluctuations. Journal of Vision 2014;14(12):25. doi: 10.1167/14.12.25.
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It has been proposed that the accommodation system could perform contrast discrimination between the two dioptric extremes of accommodative microfluctuations to extract directional signals for reflex accommodation. Higher-order aberrations (HOAs) may have a significant influence on the strength of these contrast signals. Our goal was to compute the effect HOAs may have on contrast signals for stimuli within the upper defocus limit by comparing computed microcontrast fluctuations with psychophysical contrast increment thresholds (Bradley & Ohzawa, 1986). Wavefront aberrations were measured while subjects viewed a Maltese spoke stimulus monocularly. Computations were performed for accommodation or disaccommodation stimuli from a 3 Diopter (D) baseline. Microfluctuations were estimated from the standard deviation of the wavefronts over time at baseline. Through-focus Modulation Transfer, optical contrast increments (ΔC), and Weber fractions (ΔC/C) were derived from point spread functions computed from the wavefronts at baseline for 2 and 4 cycles per degree (cpd) components, with and without HOAs. The ΔCs thus computed from the wavefronts were compared with psychophysical contrast increment threshold data. Microfluctuations are potentially useful for extracting directional information for defocus values within 3 D, where contrast increments for the 2 or 4 cpd components exceed psychophysical thresholds. HOAs largely reduce contrast signals produced by microfluctuations, depending on the mean focus error, and their magnitude in individual subjects, and they may shrink the effective stimulus range for reflex accommodation. The upper defocus limit could therefore be constrained by discrimination of microcontrast fluctuations.
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