Abstract

Previous optical modeling of the human eye with large pupils has predicted a larger impact of defocus on the human contrast sensitivity function and modulation transfer function than is observed experimentally. Theory predicts that aberrations and the Stiles–Crawford effect (SCE) should both lead to increased depth of focus, resulting in higher contrast sensitivities and veridical (not phase-reversed) perception over a larger range of spatial frequencies in defocused retinal images. Using a wave optics model, we examine these predictions quantitatively and compare them with psychophysical experiments that measure the effect of defocus on contrast sensitivity and perceived phase reversals. We find that SCE apodization has its biggest effect on defocused image quality when defocus and spherical aberration have the same sign. A model including typical amounts of spherical aberration and pupil apodization provides a dramatically improved prediction of the effects of defocus on contrast sensitivity with large pupils. The SCE can significantly improve defocused image quality and defocused vision, particularly for tasks that require veridical phase perception.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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