Abstract

This paper shows that there currently are difficulties with the traditional interpretation of psychophysical experiments for determining the energy threshold of light perception. The functioning of the retina in the threshold regime is analyzed using models that give a new interpretation of these tests and that take into account the achievements of physiological studies of threshold vision.

© 2011 OSA

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  1. S. I. Vavilov, The Microstructure of Light (Izd. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Moscow, 1950).
  2. G. D. Field, A. P. Sampath, and F. Rieke, “Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism,” Annu. Rev. Physiol. 67, 491 (2005).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. A. P. Sampath and G. L. Fain, “Setting the absolute threshold of vision,” F1000 Biol. Rep. 1, 66 (2009), http://f1000.com/reports/biology.
    [PubMed]
  4. S. Hecht, S. Shlaer, and M. H. Pirenne, “Energy, quanta, and vision,” J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 819 (1942).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. H. B. Barlow, “Retinal noise and absolute threshold,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 46, 634 (1956).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. W. Bialek, “Biophysics: searching for principles,” http://www.princeton.edu/ wbialek/PHY562.html.
  7. E. A. Boettner and J. R. Wolter, “Transmission of the ocular media,” Invest. Ophthalmol. 1, 776 (1962).
  8. J. Van de Kraats and D. Van Norren, “Optical density of the aging human ocular media in the visible and the UV,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 24, 1842 (2007).
    [CrossRef]
  9. D. A. Baylor, B. J. Nunn, and J. L. Schnapf, “The photocurrent, noise and spectral sensitivity of rods of the monkey Macaca fascicularis,” J. Physiol. 357, 575 (1984).
    [PubMed]
  10. G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Mechanisms regulating variability of the single-photon responses of mammalian rod photoreceptors,” Neuron 35, 733 (2002).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Nonlinear signal transfer from mouse rods to bipolar cells and implications for visual sensitivity,” Neuron 34, 773 (2002).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. M. C. Van Rossum and R. G. Smith, “Noise removal at the rod synapse of mammalian retina,” Visual Neurosci. 15, 809 (1998).
    [CrossRef]
  13. A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. S. I. Vavilov, “Visual observation of light fluctuations,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR (Fiz. Ser.) No. 1/2, 176 (1936).
  15. H. A. Van der Velden, “The number of quanta necessary for the perception of light of the human eye,” Ophthalmologica 111, 321 (1946).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. G. S. Brindley, “The order of coincidence required for visual threshold,” Proc. Phys. Soc. London, Sect. B 67, 673 (1954).
    [CrossRef]
  17. E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]

2009 (1)

A. P. Sampath and G. L. Fain, “Setting the absolute threshold of vision,” F1000 Biol. Rep. 1, 66 (2009), http://f1000.com/reports/biology.
[PubMed]

2007 (1)

2006 (1)

A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2005 (2)

E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field, A. P. Sampath, and F. Rieke, “Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism,” Annu. Rev. Physiol. 67, 491 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2004 (1)

A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

2002 (2)

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Mechanisms regulating variability of the single-photon responses of mammalian rod photoreceptors,” Neuron 35, 733 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Nonlinear signal transfer from mouse rods to bipolar cells and implications for visual sensitivity,” Neuron 34, 773 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1998 (1)

M. C. Van Rossum and R. G. Smith, “Noise removal at the rod synapse of mammalian retina,” Visual Neurosci. 15, 809 (1998).
[CrossRef]

1984 (1)

D. A. Baylor, B. J. Nunn, and J. L. Schnapf, “The photocurrent, noise and spectral sensitivity of rods of the monkey Macaca fascicularis,” J. Physiol. 357, 575 (1984).
[PubMed]

1962 (1)

E. A. Boettner and J. R. Wolter, “Transmission of the ocular media,” Invest. Ophthalmol. 1, 776 (1962).

1956 (1)

1954 (1)

G. S. Brindley, “The order of coincidence required for visual threshold,” Proc. Phys. Soc. London, Sect. B 67, 673 (1954).
[CrossRef]

1946 (1)

H. A. Van der Velden, “The number of quanta necessary for the perception of light of the human eye,” Ophthalmologica 111, 321 (1946).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1942 (1)

S. Hecht, S. Shlaer, and M. H. Pirenne, “Energy, quanta, and vision,” J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 819 (1942).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1936 (1)

S. I. Vavilov, “Visual observation of light fluctuations,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR (Fiz. Ser.) No. 1/2, 176 (1936).

Alapakkam, P. S.

A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Barlow, H. B.

Baylor, D. A.

D. A. Baylor, B. J. Nunn, and J. L. Schnapf, “The photocurrent, noise and spectral sensitivity of rods of the monkey Macaca fascicularis,” J. Physiol. 357, 575 (1984).
[PubMed]

Bialek, W.

W. Bialek, “Biophysics: searching for principles,” http://www.princeton.edu/ wbialek/PHY562.html.

Boettner, E. A.

E. A. Boettner and J. R. Wolter, “Transmission of the ocular media,” Invest. Ophthalmol. 1, 776 (1962).

Brindley, G. S.

G. S. Brindley, “The order of coincidence required for visual threshold,” Proc. Phys. Soc. London, Sect. B 67, 673 (1954).
[CrossRef]

Doan, T.

A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Fain, G. L.

A. P. Sampath and G. L. Fain, “Setting the absolute threshold of vision,” F1000 Biol. Rep. 1, 66 (2009), http://f1000.com/reports/biology.
[PubMed]

Felice, A. D.

A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Field, G. D.

G. D. Field, A. P. Sampath, and F. Rieke, “Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism,” Annu. Rev. Physiol. 67, 491 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Mechanisms regulating variability of the single-photon responses of mammalian rod photoreceptors,” Neuron 35, 733 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Nonlinear signal transfer from mouse rods to bipolar cells and implications for visual sensitivity,” Neuron 34, 773 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Fine, A.

A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Hecht, S.

S. Hecht, S. Shlaer, and M. H. Pirenne, “Energy, quanta, and vision,” J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 819 (1942).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Hornstein, E. P.

E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Kullmann, D. M.

A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Li, P. H.

E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Nunn, B. J.

D. A. Baylor, B. J. Nunn, and J. L. Schnapf, “The photocurrent, noise and spectral sensitivity of rods of the monkey Macaca fascicularis,” J. Physiol. 357, 575 (1984).
[PubMed]

Pirenne, M. H.

S. Hecht, S. Shlaer, and M. H. Pirenne, “Energy, quanta, and vision,” J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 819 (1942).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Rieke, F.

A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field, A. P. Sampath, and F. Rieke, “Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism,” Annu. Rev. Physiol. 67, 491 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Nonlinear signal transfer from mouse rods to bipolar cells and implications for visual sensitivity,” Neuron 34, 773 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Mechanisms regulating variability of the single-photon responses of mammalian rod photoreceptors,” Neuron 35, 733 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Rusakov, D. A.

A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Sampath, A. P.

A. P. Sampath and G. L. Fain, “Setting the absolute threshold of vision,” F1000 Biol. Rep. 1, 66 (2009), http://f1000.com/reports/biology.
[PubMed]

G. D. Field, A. P. Sampath, and F. Rieke, “Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism,” Annu. Rev. Physiol. 67, 491 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Schnapf, J. L.

E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

D. A. Baylor, B. J. Nunn, and J. L. Schnapf, “The photocurrent, noise and spectral sensitivity of rods of the monkey Macaca fascicularis,” J. Physiol. 357, 575 (1984).
[PubMed]

Scimemi, A.

A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Shlaer, S.

S. Hecht, S. Shlaer, and M. H. Pirenne, “Energy, quanta, and vision,” J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 819 (1942).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Smith, R. G.

M. C. Van Rossum and R. G. Smith, “Noise removal at the rod synapse of mammalian retina,” Visual Neurosci. 15, 809 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Van de Kraats, J.

Van der Velden, H. A.

H. A. Van der Velden, “The number of quanta necessary for the perception of light of the human eye,” Ophthalmologica 111, 321 (1946).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Van Norren, D.

Van Rossum, M. C.

M. C. Van Rossum and R. G. Smith, “Noise removal at the rod synapse of mammalian retina,” Visual Neurosci. 15, 809 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Vavilov, S. I.

S. I. Vavilov, “Visual observation of light fluctuations,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR (Fiz. Ser.) No. 1/2, 176 (1936).

S. I. Vavilov, The Microstructure of Light (Izd. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Moscow, 1950).

Verweij, J.

E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Wolter, J. R.

E. A. Boettner and J. R. Wolter, “Transmission of the ocular media,” Invest. Ophthalmol. 1, 776 (1962).

Annu. Rev. Physiol. (1)

G. D. Field, A. P. Sampath, and F. Rieke, “Retinal processing near absolute threshold: from behavior to mechanism,” Annu. Rev. Physiol. 67, 491 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

F1000 Biol. Rep. (1)

A. P. Sampath and G. L. Fain, “Setting the absolute threshold of vision,” F1000 Biol. Rep. 1, 66 (2009), http://f1000.com/reports/biology.
[PubMed]

Invest. Ophthalmol. (1)

E. A. Boettner and J. R. Wolter, “Transmission of the ocular media,” Invest. Ophthalmol. 1, 776 (1962).

Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR (Fiz. Ser.) (1)

S. I. Vavilov, “Visual observation of light fluctuations,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR (Fiz. Ser.) No. 1/2, 176 (1936).

J. Gen. Physiol. (1)

S. Hecht, S. Shlaer, and M. H. Pirenne, “Energy, quanta, and vision,” J. Gen. Physiol. 25, 819 (1942).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Neurosci. (3)

A. D. Felice, T. Doan, P. S. Alapakkam, and F. Rieke, “Controlling the gain of rod-mediated signals in the mammalian retina,” J. Neurosci. 26, 3959 (2006).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

E. P. Hornstein, J. Verweij, P. H. Li, and J. L. Schnapf, “Gap-junctional coupling and absolute sensitivity of photoreceptors in macaque retina,” J. Neurosci. 25, 11201 (2005).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

A. Scimemi, A. Fine, D. M. Kullmann, and D. A. Rusakov, “NR2B-containing receptors mediate cross talk among hippocampal synapses,” J. Neurosci. 24, 4767 (2004).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

J. Opt. Soc. Am. A (1)

J. Physiol. (1)

D. A. Baylor, B. J. Nunn, and J. L. Schnapf, “The photocurrent, noise and spectral sensitivity of rods of the monkey Macaca fascicularis,” J. Physiol. 357, 575 (1984).
[PubMed]

Neuron (2)

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Mechanisms regulating variability of the single-photon responses of mammalian rod photoreceptors,” Neuron 35, 733 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

G. D. Field and F. Rieke, “Nonlinear signal transfer from mouse rods to bipolar cells and implications for visual sensitivity,” Neuron 34, 773 (2002).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Ophthalmologica (1)

H. A. Van der Velden, “The number of quanta necessary for the perception of light of the human eye,” Ophthalmologica 111, 321 (1946).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Proc. Phys. Soc. London, Sect. B (1)

G. S. Brindley, “The order of coincidence required for visual threshold,” Proc. Phys. Soc. London, Sect. B 67, 673 (1954).
[CrossRef]

Visual Neurosci. (1)

M. C. Van Rossum and R. G. Smith, “Noise removal at the rod synapse of mammalian retina,” Visual Neurosci. 15, 809 (1998).
[CrossRef]

Other (2)

S. I. Vavilov, The Microstructure of Light (Izd. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Moscow, 1950).

W. Bialek, “Biophysics: searching for principles,” http://www.princeton.edu/ wbialek/PHY562.html.

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