A New Optical Model of the Human Eye

Larry N. Thibos, Ming Ye, Xiaoxiao Zhang, and Arthur Bradley

The optical apparatus of the eye represents a low-pass spatial filter at the front end of the visual system that is a potential limiting factor for any visual task. Apart from defocus, which the eye automatically corrects by a reflexive change in optical power of its internal lens, the major optical factors limiting visual performance are chromatic aberration, spherical aberration, and diffraction at the pupil.1 To help gauge the potential magnitude and significance of these optical factors, and to provide a useful design element for optical engineers, we have developed an accurate, mathematically tractable model of the human eye that takes account of these three primary factors.

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