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Timothy J. Gawne, Rafael Grytz, Thomas T. Norton; How chromatic cues can guide human eye growth to achieve good focus. Journal of Vision 2021;21(5):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.5.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The postnatal growing eye uses visual cues to actively control its own axial elongation to achieve and maintain sharp focus, a process termed emmetropization. The primary visual cue may be the difference in image sharpness as sensed by the arrays of short- and long-wavelength sensitive cone photoreceptors caused by longitudinal chromatic aberration: Shorter wavelengths focus in front of longer wavelengths. However, the sparse distribution of short-wavelength sensitive cones across the retina suggests that they do not have sufficient spatial sampling resolution for this task. Here, we show that the spacing of the short-wavelength sensitive cones in humans is sufficient for them, in conjunction with the longer wavelength cones, to use chromatic signals to detect defocus and guide emmetropization. We hypothesize that the retinal spacing of the short-wavelength sensitive cones in many mammalian species is an evolutionarily ancient adaption that allows the efficient use of chromatic cues in emmetropization.
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