Abstract

In the extrafoveal retina, interference fringes at spatial frequencies higher than the resolution limit look like two-dimensional spatial noise, the origin of which has not been firmly established. We show that over a limited range of high spatial frequencies this noise takes on a striated appearance, with the striations running perpendicular to the true fringe orientation. A model of cone aliasing based on anatomical measurements of extrafoveal cone position predicts that this orientation reversal should occur when the period of the interference fringe roughly equals the spacing between cones, i.e., when the fringe spatial frequency is about twice the cone Nyquist frequency. Psychophysical measurements of the orientation reversal at retinal eccentricities from 0.75 to 10 deg are in quantitative agreement with this prediction. This agreement implies that at least part of the spatial noise observed under these conditions results from aliasing by the cone mosaic. The orientation reversal provides a psychophysical method for estimating spacing in less regular mosaics, complementing another psychophysical technique for measuring spacing in the more regular mosaic of foveal cones [ D. R. Williams, Vision Res. 25, 195 ( 1985); Vision Res. (submitted)].

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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