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Vivek Labhishetty, Steven A. Cholewiak, Martin S. Banks; Contributions of foveal and non-foveal retina to the human eye's focusing response. Journal of Vision 2019;19(12):18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.12.18.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The human eye changes focus—accommodates—to minimize blur in the retinal image. Previous work has shown that stimulation of nonfoveal retina can produce accommodative responses when no competing stimulus is presented to the fovea. In everyday situations it is very common for the fovea and other parts of the retina to be stimulated simultaneously. We examined this situation by asking how nonfoveal retina contributes to accommodation when the fovea is also stimulated. There were three experimental conditions. (a) Real change in which stimuli of different sizes, centered on the fovea, were presented at different optical distances. Accommodation was, as expected, robust because there was no conflicting stimulation of other parts of the retina. (b) Simulated change, no conflict in which stimuli of different sizes, again centered on the fovea, were presented at different simulated distances using rendered chromatic blur. Accommodation was robust in this condition because there was no conflict between the central and peripheral stimuli. (c) Simulated change, conflict in which a central disk (of different diameters) was presented along with an abutting peripheral annulus. The disk and annulus underwent opposite changes in simulated distance. Here we observed a surprisingly consistent effect of the peripheral annulus. For example, when the diameter of the central stimulus was 8° (thereby stimulating the fovea and parafovea), the abutting peripheral annulus had a significant effect on accommodation. We discuss how these results may help us understand other situations in which nonfixated targets affect the ability to focus on a fixated target. We also discuss potential implications for the development of myopia and for foveated rendering.
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