September 2023
Volume 23, Issue 11
Open Access
Optica Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   September 2023
Poster Session: Observations and Implications of Temporary Erythropsia in a Color-Normal Observer
Author Affiliations
  • Bruce Drum
Journal of Vision September 2023, Vol.23, 47. doi:
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      Bruce Drum; Poster Session: Observations and Implications of Temporary Erythropsia in a Color-Normal Observer. Journal of Vision 2023;23(11):47.

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

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Erythropsia (red vision) is characterized by the reddish or pinkish appearance of surfaces that normally appear achromatic. Erythropsia has been observed historically by people whose retinas were exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light (e.g., aphakes or pseudophakes implanted with unfiltered intraocular lenses). Erythropsia is not fully understood, but has been thought to be related to photochemical damage to short-wavelength (S) cones. Erythropsia can also occur in normal phakic eyes during intense white light adaptation. When I stare at the sunlit white siding on the southern wall of my house, after several seconds, the color changes from white to a brilliant magenta, with the central 1-2º of visual angle spared. All details in the siding fade except for the spared center. In another 10-20 seconds, the magenta turns to bluish cyan, and the previously invisible details reappear with exaggerated contrast. These observations are reminiscent of the color of S-cone increments on white adapting fields (Drum & Sternheim (2005) JOSA A: 22, 2107-19). S cones are insensitive relative to M and L cones on dim backgrounds, but they do not light-adapt like M and L cones and become relatively more sensitive at moderate adapting levels. At still higher adapting levels, S cones saturate (become unresponsive) leaving the increment a tritanopic cyan. The present observations imply that S cones initially fail to adapt to a bright white field, but then saturate, leaving the observer tritanopic.

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