Ocular accommodation and wavelength: The effect of longitudinal chromatic aberration on the stimulus–response curve

The longitudinal chromatic aberration (LCA) of the eye creates a chromatic blur on the retina that is an important cue for accommodation. Although this mechanism can work optimally in broadband illuminants such as daylight, it is not clear how the system responds to the narrowband illuminants used by many modern displays. Here, we measured pupil and accommodative responses as well as visual acuity under narrowband light-emitting diode (LED) illuminants of different peak wavelengths. Observers were able to accommodate under narrowband light and compensate for the LCA of the eye, with no difference in the variability of the steady-state accommodation response between narrowband and broadband illuminants. Intriguingly, our subjects compensated more fully for LCA at nearer distances. That is, the difference in accommodation to different wavelengths became larger when the object was placed nearer the observer, causing the slope of the accommodation response curve to become shallower for shorter wavelengths and steeper for longer ones. Within the accommodative range of observers, accommodative errors were small and visual acuity normal. When comparing between illuminants, when accommodation was accurate, visual acuity was worst for blue narrowband light. This cannot be due to the sparser spacing for S-cones, as our stimuli had equal luminance and thus activated LM-cones roughly equally. It is likely because ocular LCA changes more rapidly at shorter wavelength and so the finite spectral bandwidth of LEDs corresponds to a greater dioptric range at shorter wavelengths. This effect disappears for larger accommodative errors, due to the increased depth of focus of the eye.
File Size4.8 MiB
DateJuly 2, 2024
AuthorFernandez-Alonso M, Finch AP, Love GD, Read JCA