The Eye's Mechanisms for Autocalibration

Heidi Hofer and David R.Williams

As those of us who build optical instruments are all too aware, changes in the environment surrounding an instrument or changes within the instrument itself can quickly throw it out of calibration. This usually requires someone to intervene and restore the device to its calibrated state. The human visual system, on the other hand, does not enjoy the luxury of such a caretaker, and must calibrate itself continuously. Evolution has created ingenious mechanisms that maintain optimal visual performance over the three-quarters of a century that corresponds to a typical human lifespan.

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