July 2019
Volume 19, Issue 8
Open Access
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
High acuity vision corrected for chromatic and monochromatic aberrations is associated with color discrimination without red-green or blue-yellow sensations
Author Affiliations
  • Alexandra Neitz
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • Xiaoyun Jiang
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • James A. Kuchenbecker
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • Sara S. Patterson
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • Anna-Lisa Doebley
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • Maureen Neitz
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • Jay Neitz
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
  • Ramkumar Sabesan
    Ophthalmology University of Washington
Journal of Vision July 2019, Vol.19, 12. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.12
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      Alexandra Neitz, Xiaoyun Jiang, James A. Kuchenbecker, Sara S. Patterson, Anna-Lisa Doebley, Maureen Neitz, Jay Neitz, Ramkumar Sabesan; High acuity vision corrected for chromatic and monochromatic aberrations is associated with color discrimination without red-green or blue-yellow sensations. Journal of Vision 2019;19(8):12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.12.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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From the earliest measurements of contrast sensitivity for chromatic gratings, it has been reported that isoluminant red-green gratings appear achromatic at high spatial frequencies. To better understand this phenomenon, we used a forced-choice paradigm to measure contrast sensitivity functions for red-green and S-cone isolating sinusoidal chromatic gratings. For all red-green grating experiments, monochromatic aberrations were compensated via adaptive optics. Longitudinal and transverse chromatic aberration were compensated by a specialized Badal system and a Vernier alignment task, respectively. We measured responses to red-green gratings under two conditions. In the first condition, which is comparable to the measurement of conventional chromatic contrast sensitivity, we measured contrast thresholds for detecting the grating pattern from uniform-field distractor targets. In the second condition, for a series of spatial frequencies, subjects were required to pick out a red-green grating from isochromatic grating distractors.

Subjects were able to detect red-green gratings with a much higher spatial frequency cut-off (>30 c/deg) than for S-cone isolating gratings. Subjects were able to discriminate colored from isochromatic gratings with a high spatial frequency cutoff of only 10–12 c/deg, which was more similar to that found for S-cone gratings. Thus, subjects were able to detect changing red-green wavelength content at high spatial frequencies without perceiving hue sensations.

The results are consistent with the unconventional hypothesis that achromatic and hue sensations are separated at the level of two subpopulations of midget ganglion cells, one serving high acuity black-white vision and a second more sparse mosaic serving hue perception at a lower spatial resolution.


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