To evaluate the influence of spherical aberration on contrast sensitivity using adaptive optics.
Vision Science and Advanced Retinal Imaging Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Science, University of California, Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California, USA.
Contrast sensitivity at 8 cycles per degree was evaluated using an adaptive optics system that permitted aberrations to be measured with a Shack-Hartman wavefront sensor and controlled by a 109 actuator continuous-surface deformable mirror that was at a plane conjugate to the observer’s pupil. Vertical Gabor patches were viewed through a 6.3 mm diameter pupil conjugate aperture. Contrast sensitivity was measured with the deformable mirror set to produce 1 of 5 spherical aberration profiles (−0.2 to +0.2 μm). Contrast sensitivity over the range of spherical aberration was fitted with a polynomial function.
Three observers (age 21 to 24 years) participated. The measured total mean spherical aberration resulting from the spherical aberration profiles produced by the deformable mirror was between −0.15 μm and +0.25 μm. The peak contrast sensitivity of this function for the 3 observers combined occurred at +0.06 μm of spherical aberration. The peak contrast sensitivity was also achieved with positive spherical aberration for observer (mean 0.09).
There was intersubject variability in the measurements; however, the average visual performance was best with the introduction of a small positive spherical aberration.