Abstract

Direct imaging of the retina by adaptive optics allows assessment of the relative number of long-wavelength-sensitive (L) and middle-wavelength-sensitive (M) cones in living human eyes. We examine the functional consequences of variation in the relative numbers of L and M cones (L/M cone ratio) for two observers whose ratios were measured by direct imaging. The L/M cone ratio for the two observers varied considerably, taking on values of 1.15 and 3.79. Two sets of functional data were collected: spectral sensitivity measured with the flicker electroretinogram (ERG) and the wavelength of unique yellow. A genetic analysis was used to determine L and M cone spectra appropriate for each observer. Rayleigh matches confirmed the use of these spectra. We determined the relative strength of L and M cone contributions to ERG spectral sensitivity by fitting the data with a weighted sum of L and M cone spectra. The relative strengths so determined (1.06 and 3.38) were close to the cone ratios established by direct imaging. Thus variation in L/M cone ratio is preserved at the sites tapped by the flicker ERG. The wavelength of unique yellow varied only slightly between the two observers (576.8 and 574.7 nm). This small variation indicates that neural factors play an important role in stabilizing unique yellow against variation in the L/M cone ratio.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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