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Frances J. Rucker, Josh Wallman; Chicks use changes in luminance and chromatic contrast as indicators of the sign of defocus. Journal of Vision 2012;12(6):23. doi: 10.1167/12.6.23.
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As the eye changes focus, the resulting changes in cone contrast are associated with changes in color and luminance. Color fluctuations should simulate the eye being hyperopic and make the eye grow in the myopic direction, while luminance fluctuations should simulate myopia and make the eye grow in the hyperopic direction. Chicks without lenses were exposed daily (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for three days on two consecutive weeks to 2 Hz sinusoidally modulated illumination (mean illuminance of 680 lux) to one of the following: in-phase modulated luminance flicker (LUM), counterphase-modulated red/green (R/G Color) or blue/yellow flicker (B/Y Color), combined color and luminance flicker (Color + LUM), reduced amplitude luminance flicker (Low LUM), or no flicker. After the three-day exposure to flicker, chicks were kept in a brooder under normal diurnal lighting for four days. Changes in the ocular components were measured with ultrasound and with a Hartinger Coincidence Refractometer (aus Jena, Jena, East Germany. After the first three-day exposure, luminance flicker produced more hyperopic refractions (LUM: 2.27 D) than did color flicker (R/G Color: 0.09 D; B/Y Color: −0.25 D). Changes in refraction were mainly due to changes in eye length, with color flicker producing much greater changes in eye length than luminance flicker (R/G Color: 102 μm; B/Y Color: 98 μm; LUM: 66 μm).
Our results support the hypothesis that the eye can differentiate between hyperopic and myopic defocus on the basis of the effects of change in luminance or color contrast.
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