Abstract

Visual adaptation (and especially dark adaptation) has been studied extensively in the past, however, mainly addressing adaptation to fully dark backgrounds. At this stage, it is unclear whether these results are not too simple to be applied to complex situations, such as predicting adaptation of a motorist driving at night. To fill this gap we set up a study investigating how spatially complex backgrounds influence temporal dark adaptation. Our results showed that dark adaptation to spatially complex backgrounds leads to much longer adaptation times than dark adaptation to spatially uniform backgrounds. We conclude therefore that the adaptation models based on past studies overestimate the visual system’s sensitivity to detect luminance variations in spatially complex environments. Our results also showed large variations in adaptation times when varying the degree of spatial complexity of the background. Hence, we may conclude that it is important to take into account models that are based on spatially complex backgrounds when predicting dark adaptation for complex environments.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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