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Michael O. Wilkinson, Roger S. Anderson, Arthur Bradley, Larry N. Thibos; Neural bandwidth of veridical perception across the visual field. Journal of Vision 2016;16(2):1. doi: 10.1167/16.2.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Neural undersampling of the retinal image limits the range of spatial frequencies that can be represented veridically by the array of retinal ganglion cells conveying visual information from eye to brain. Our goal was to demarcate the neural bandwidth and local anisotropy of veridical perception, unencumbered by optical imperfections of the eye, and to test competing hypotheses that might account for the results. Using monochromatic interference fringes to stimulate the retina with high-contrast sinusoidal gratings, we measured sampling-limited visual resolution along eight meridians from 0° to 50° of eccentricity. The resulting isoacuity contour maps revealed all of the expected features of the human array of retinal ganglion cells. Contours in the radial fringe maps are elongated horizontally, revealing the functional equivalent of the anatomical visual streak, and are extended into nasal retina and superior retina, indicating higher resolution along those meridians. Contours are larger in diameter for radial gratings compared to tangential or oblique gratings, indicating local anisotropy with highest bandwidth for radially oriented gratings. Comparison of these results to anatomical predictions indicates acuity is proportional to the sampling density of retinal ganglion cells everywhere in the retina. These results support the long-standing hypothesis that “pixel density” of the discrete neural image carried by the human optic nerve limits the spatial bandwidth of veridical perception at all retinal locations.
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