We studied the mechanism of compensation of aberrations within the young human eye by using experimental data and advanced ray-tracing modeling. Corneal and ocular aberrations along with the alignment properties (angle kappa, lens tilt, and decentration) were measured in eyes with different refractive errors. Predictions from individualized ray-tracing optical models were compared with the actual measurements. Ocular spherical aberration was, in general, smaller than corneal spherical aberration without relation to refractive error. However, horizontal coma compensation was found to be significantly larger for hyperopic eyes where angle kappa tended to also be larger. We propose a simple analytical model of the relationship between the corneal coma compensation effect with the field angle and corneal and crystalline shape factors. The actual shape factors corresponded approximately to the optimum shapes that automatically provide this coma compensation. We showed that the eye behaves as an aplanatic optical system, an optimized design solution rendering stable retinal image quality for different ocular geometries.
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