13. Self-Correcting for Visual Acuity

Howard C. Howland, Neurobiology and Behavior, and research team, along with Toshifumi Mihashi (TopCon Corp.) conducted a study implying that internal parts of the eye can compensate for imperfect conditions in other parts. The researchers used wavefront analysis, a recently developed technique for “seeing”—with computer-based mathematical simulation—more precisely what the eye perceives. A beam of laser light shines through the eye’s optics toward the retina. As the light rays are reflected back through the internal optics and exit the eye, the wavefront analyzer measures and computes deviations from a perfectly formed light beam, or test pattern, a short distance in front of the eye. The study looked for ways the eye might compensate internally for several kinds of optical faults, including cornea astigmatism, lateral coma, and spherical aberration. The researchers found that visual acuity is a result of various component parts of the eye wanting to see better. Some self-correction can occur during the lifetime of one individual (developmentally), and some can occur over many generations (genetically).

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