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Philips Lighting

Vision

Correspondence Course
Lighting Application

Lighting Design and
Engineering Centre

PHILIPS

Contents
Introduction 3
Basic lighting quantities 3
1.Structure and function of the eye 4
1.1 Description of the eye 4
1.2 The visual process and the eye 6
1.3 Spectral eye sensitivity curve 8
1.4 The visual process and the brain 9
2 Visual functions 10
2.1 Accommodation 10
2.2 adaptation 10
2.3 Convergence 12
3. Visual ability 13
3.1 Visual acuity 13
3.2 Contrast detection 13
3.3 Three-dimensional vision 17
4. Visual Imperfections 18
4.1 Aberrations of the optical system 18
4.2 Glare 19
4.3 After-Images and flicker 20
4.4 Detects of vision 21
5. psychological and physiological effects of light 23
6. Relationship between eye performance and lighting criteria 25
Conclusion 26
Exercise material 27

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Luminous flux is the total amount of light radiated by a light source per second. effect that light has on the physiology and psychology of the human being is that it enables him to perceive what is going on around him. A good- quality indoor lighting installation for reading and writing produces an illuminance of between 500 and 1 000 lux on the working plane. Indeed. to do with the lighting. A more familiar term would be 'lighting level'. This has much. Basic lighting quantities Although essentially belonging to the subject-matter of the next lesson. One lux equals one lumen per square metre. as it then was the easiest one to measure. Luminous intensity is the luminous flux radiated by a light source in a specific direction. It is expressed in lumens (lm). the human eye. There exists a close relationship between the way the visual scene is presented to us and the ability of the eye to fulfil its task properly. This is possible thanks to his possession of an extremely delicate sense organ. 3 . If not everything. although not the sole. Illuminance is expressed in lux (lx). it can be safely claimed that as much as eighty per cent of the information he receives from the outside world passes through his eyes. A 100 watt incandescent lamp has a luminous flux of between 1200 and 1600 lumens. The role of light in man’s contact with the environment can hardly be overestimated . Introduction Man’s most important link with the outside world The principal. it will be necessary to understand something of the working of the human eye and the mental process of vision. Illuminance is the quantitative expression for the luminous flux incident on a surface.on visual performance and visual comfort. for proper understanding it will be necessary to briefly explain the tour basic quantitative lighting concepts and the related units. It is the oldest lighting unit. A pocket torch produces a luminous intensity in the order of 200 cd. a lighthouse about 2 000 000 cd. In order to understand the impact of the various lighting criteria briefly outlined in Lesson 1 of this Course . A more familiar term would be ‘light output’. Luminous intensity is expressed In candelas (cd).

the concept of luminance will play an important role in this lesson on Vision.The luminance of a surface is determined by the illuminance on the surface In question and its reflective properties. like lamps. It is the only aspect of light that we actually see. for example. Luminance is expressed in candelas per square metre (cd/m2). although This term must! strictly speaking. The summer sky at noon. Structure and function of the eye 1. showing the positioning muscles.but by changing the power of the lens. white-coloured membrane. A mat surface receiving 500 Luminance lux and reflecting 50 per cent of the incident light will. Our visual world is built up of luminances. Six positioning muscles allow it to swivel in any direction (Fig. 4 . has a luminance of about 9000 cd/m2 and the flame of a candle 10 000 cd/m2. which is called the retina. the ‘sclera'. A more familiar word is 'brightness'. show a luminance of 80 cd/m2. on the other hand. the term 'luminance' is also applied to the surface brightness of luminous bodies. Luminance is the quantitative expression for the amount of light reflected by a surface in a certain direction. This is possible because the lens in the eye is composed of flexible layers and ciliary muscles contract to make it more rounded. 1). The outer coat of the eye consists for the major part of a dense fibrous. The optical system Focussing for closer-distance seeing is not achieved by altering the distance between lens and retina . Therefore. 1. The eyeball in its socket. Fig. By extension. which throws a reduced upside-down Image of a distant object onto the light- sensitive inner back surface. Between the sclera and the retina is another membrane.as with a camera . 2).1 Description of the eye The human eye as a camera The human eye is roughly spherical with a diameter of 25 millimetres. the ‘choroid’ which contains many blood vessels to supply the eye with oxygen and nutrition. Superficially. in so far that it has a lens. be reserved to describe the subjective impression of luminance on the eye. the eye resembles a camera (Fig. 1.

The colour ol the Iris can vary strongly between individuals. 3. be controlled. which. By varying the pupil’s diameter the amount of light entering can. In the centre of the iris is a hole. The cones. where they are entirely lacking. the sclera is transparent and called ‘cornea’ Behind (he cornea and immediately before the lens is a circular curtain the 'iris'. showing the inner structure. the eye is filled with a jelly-like substance (vitreous humour). called aqueous humour. 2. and is normally referred to as the ‘colour of the eye’. because of their shape. a spot called 'fovea centralis' or briefly ‘fovea’. The whole acts as a diaphragm. are called rods and 'cones' (Fig. between the lens and the retina (the vitreous chamber). Fig. Rods and cones The retina is the start of the nervous system leading to the brain. In the front. to a certain extent. Cross-section through the right eye! seen from above. with the exception of (he visual axis In the centre. The rods are spread fairly evenly over the reline. Microscopic section through the retina. It consists of more than a hundred million light-sensitive nerve endings of two types. The part of the eye between the cornea and the lens (anterior chamber) is filled with a salty liquid. on the other hand! are concentrated in the fovea and occur only Fig. 3). 5 . The Iatter keeps the eye in shape. There are ten to fifteen times more rods than cones. called the 'pupil'.

These functions are attributed to the rods and cones. Where the optic nerve enters the eye! there are neither cones nor rods. They also enable us to see tine detail. at both sides at the fissure that separates the two brain halves it is called the visual cortex. A. the chemical composition of a pigment changes temporarily This results in a minute electric current. The result is that these clusters of rods are highly sensitive to light. provided the lighting Is good . 4. 1. but can distinguish colours. as the brain cannot distinguish between individual rods in a cluster Under conditions of rod seeing only.are mainly attributable to the fact that the eye combines two seeing functions in one organ. each a single-line connection to the brain.2 The visual process and the eye Two seeing functions combined in one organ The unique properties of the eye . Cones. In the order of 1: 107. 6 . the so-called blind spot’. about One hundred at a time are connected to One and the same nerve fibre (Fig. The part of the brain that is responsible tar visual perception is situated at the surface. on the other hand. but the sensitivity of the rod pigment varies tar the various spectral colours.a tremendous sensitivity range. On the other hand definition is poor. are less sensitive to light. cones in the fovea. showing the various types of connection from the rod end cones to The nerve fibres. With rods no colours can be distinguished. sparsely in other parts of the retina. combined with a high resolving power and the ability to distinguish between up to 100 000 colour shades. 4). The rods are highly light- sensitive and principally responsible for detection of shape and movement. several rods connected to the same nerve fibre: B. one obtains therefore a rather blurred picture. Fig. but cannot distinguish colours. Schematic section through the retina. The maximum sensitivity is found al a wavelength of 507 nm (green) and steeply decreases toward the red end of the spectrum. Rod vision The process ol seeing is essentially an electrochemical one. which passes to the brain through nerve fibres in the case ot the reds. C. as the stimulus ol more rods is summed. When in the retina a rod or cone Is stimulated. The optic nerve connects the retina to ihe brain. rods and cones sharing the same fibre.

Fig. but such people have other visual deficiencies as well). Until a few decades ago the underlying processes were hardly understood. also showing the difference of the three colour receptors in the cones. 6). respectively (Fig. sensitivity to light for cones is far less than for rods. On the other hand. at luminance levels of 35 cd/m2 and less! cones gradually cease to function. each cone is individually connected to the brain. blue colours seem to become brighter with respect to red colours. the ‘duplicity theory of vision’. In very rare cases only one type of cone is present in the eye. 7 . and is since generally known as the 'Purkinje-shift'. and these people are fully colour blind (like those whose eyes have only rods. 7). The overall spectral sensitivity curve for cores is different from that for rods (Fig. This phenomenon was discovered in 1825 by the Czechian physiologist Johann Evangelista Purkinje. 5). Colour vision The cones enable us to distinguish colours. green and blue parts of the spectrum. 7. Unlike with rods! at least in the foveal area. whereby different visual functions were attributed to the rods and cones. in absolute sensitivity. and the fall-off toward the red side of ihe spectrum Is less pronounced The result is that at very low lighting levels. Distribution of density of rods and cones over a horizontal section through the retina Cone vision Sparsely distributed. when the cones no longer fund ion and the rods take over. The point of maximum sensitivity lies al 555 nm (bright yellow). Therefore. Persons who miss one type of cones are partially colour-blind. Fig 6. Spectral sensitivity curves of the cones Fig. but In the fovea they are densely packed (Fig. resulting in a very high resolving power. was formulated forty years later by the anatomist Max Schulze. but now we know that there are in foot three types of cones! with pigments sensitive to the red. The theory explain ing this effect. 5. Approximate spectral sensitivity curves V (λ) end rods V' (λ). cones occur over the entire retina.

This situation is called ‘mesopic vision’. and found to be remarkably consistent between subjects. For example. In tact. 8). This state of vision. as the optical system of the eye becomes virtually opaque for wavelengths beyond these values. the eye sensitivity varies strongly with different wavelengths of the same energy content. than for wave lengths of 700 nm (deep red) or 450 nm (violet-blue). This situation is called ‘scotopic vision’. resulting in a general picture of low definition and no colours. the limits are 309 nm at the ultraviolet and 1400 nm at the infrared side of the spectrum. under conditions of photopic vision the eye is about twenty times more sensitive for light with a wavelength 550 nm (yellow). the ‘Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage’ (CIE) laid down a standard spectral eye-sensitivity curve for photopic vision. Eye sensitivity varies with wavelength Within the visible range. colour perception falls off through lack of cones. Al normal visual conditions (sufficient light available). the so-called Purkinje-shift. Toward the edge of the scene. blue objects remain visible longer than do red ones with decreasing luminance. the image at the object we are studying is brought to locus on the foveal region. which Is so small that it Is just covered by the image of the full moon. covering a horizontal angle of more than 200° when seeing with both eyes without moving ones head. The spot of focal attention is sharply pictured in lull colour by the cones of the fovea The periphery of vision. Although It will be impossible to focus on an object movements are comparatively easily detected. under photopic as well as scotopic visual conditions. As early as 1924. Vision is (lien by rods only. Because of the Purkinje-shift. which always occurs it sufficient light is available. as it forms the link between radiometric and photometric quantities and units. produces no detached image. 8 . As has already been explained before. and only a very small part. This will be further explained in Lesson 5 of this course. a landscape under full moon has luminance of about 0. as visibility in these boundary regions can only be measured under laboratory conditions at very high intensities**) . Scotopic vision At very low luminance levels (less than 0.5 cd/m2). **) Theoretically. Therefore. in 1951 a similar curve for scotopic vision was defined. The curves give the relative photopic eye sensitivity (V) or scotopic eye sensitivity (V') as a function of the wavelength (λ). is called ‘photopic vision’.3 Spectral eye sensitivity curve Light forms a part. of the total spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. together testing some 250 subjects. and are therefore generally called V (λ) or V'(λ) curves (Fig. Standard eye sensitivity curves The spectral eye-sensitivity curve has been assessed in a great many cases. but permits of general perception. The peak sensitivities for photopic and scotopic vision have been defined at 555 nm and 507 nm respectively. For practical visual conditions the range between 380 nm and 700 nm is normally adopted.035 cd/m2)*. it might be defined as the pad of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be ‘seen’ The upper and lower limits of the visible spectrum are nevertheless difficult to assess. where the cones still partly function. Larger scenes are ‘scanned’ by continually roving movements of the eyes. The spectral eye-sensitivity curve is of extreme importance in lighting technology. the proverb ‘In the dark all cats are gray’ literally makes sense. the peak sensitivity for scotopic vision lies about 50 nm nearer to the blue end of the spectrum than the maximum sensitivity for photopic vision. Mesopic vision Between photopic and scotopic vision there is a transitional slate (between 0. the cones do not function. This can be clearly seen when somebody is reading a book.01 cd/m .Photopic vision The division in rods arid cones explains much at the characteristics properties of the human eye. 2 *) By comparison.035 and 3. based upon the work of six scientific teams. 1.

Remarkable. 2. 4 optic tracts. 9. showing how the retina of both eyes are connected to the two halves of the visual cortex. 1. Schema tic diagram of the visual pathway. 9). Somebody who has one of his optic tracts severed will therefore be half-blind in both eyes. 8 Standard spectral eye sensitivity curves for photopic V (λ) and scotopic V'(λ) according to CIE. which lead to the two halves of the visual cortex (Fig. visual cortex. and then divide again into two branches. 5. 9 . connections to the pineal grand. but not illogical. is the observation that the foveal area occupies a proportionally much larger region of the visual cortex than the peripheral areas of the retina. The optic nerves of both eyes unite immediately after entering the cranial cavity. 6. optic chiasma. Fig. 1. Each nerve fibre forms an uninterrupted link between its ending in the retina and a well-defined pan of the visual cortex. In such a way that each optic tract contains nerve fibres coming from both eyes. The arrangement is in fact such that the left half of the visual cortex processes the visual information coming from the left side of the retina of both eyes. Fig. forming the so-called ‘optic chiasma’. It is therefore possible to map! the retinal area on the cortex. optic nerve. where the optic nerve from each eye splices into two strands.4 The visual process and the brain The optic nerves connect the eyes with the brain The way the retina of both eyes are connected to the visual cortex in the two brain halves is not as straiqht- forward as might be expected. the optic tracts'. retina. The optic chiasma forms a cross-over point. the right hail of the visual cortex taking care of the right side of each retina. a.

When looking at nearby objects. In photographic cameras such a situation is remedied by Increasing the distance between the lens and (he film. the state of tiredness will be of influence. The Lens is a transparent elastic body which. which means that the eye can accommodate over a range of some 15 diopters. accounting for a variation of 1: 16 In eye sensitivity. When these contract. However. as a smaller diameter of the pupil will result in a greater depth of focus. Depending on the amount of light available. 10. Further refraction takes place in the aqueous humour and the crystalline lens. This process is called 'accommodation' (Fig. the diameter of the pupil of a normal adult varies between 2 and 8 millimetres. Objects at far distance are then sharply pictured. It i5 expressed as the reciprocal of the focal length in metres. is rather flat and has a power of approximately one diopter*). The light path in the eye when looking into the far distance (A). etc. Visual functions 2. the picture on the retina would no longer be sharp. thus a lens with a focal length of 1 metre is 1 diopter (-1 diopter in the case of a concave lens): with a local length or 25 centimetres it is 4 diopters. however. young children can see down to a distance of less than ten centimetres. the human eye can accept visual information over a tremendous range of lighting levels. and with the lens accommodated for a nearby object (B). Adaptation involves three major processes: change in pupil size. The time necessary for the eye to accommodate over the whole range is about 0. in the eye. Together these form the optical system of the eye. Fig. the local length of the lens is changed. however. accommodation of the eye to different distances will take one second or more. The mechanism by which the eye changes its sensitivity to light is called adaptation. 2. thus shortening the local length. Accommodation power sharply declines with age The ability to accommodate varies strongly with age. 10). at the age of 45 the eyes of most adults have lost so much of their accommodation power that reading becomes problematic without optical help in the form of spectacles The accommodation process normally takes place unconsciously. This is clone by the ciliary muscles around the lens. Adaptation of the pupil width takes place in a few tenths of a second. 2. as the direction of vision and the degree of convergence of the eyes will have to change as well The luminance of the visual scene also plays a role in this matter. In the latter case. the lens becomes more convex.2 Adaptation Adaptation allows the eye to see at different lighting levels As we have seen. chiefly occurs at the cornea where the light enters the eye. In practice. the lens is thicker and more convex through contraction of the ciliary muscles. Finally. 10 . *) The diopter is a unit for the power of lenses. when at rest.1 Accommodation Accommodation allows the eye to see sharply at different distances The retraction necessary to form an image on the retina.7 seconds.

Cones adapt far more rapidly than do rods to lower luminance levels (Fig. In the dark the pigment is regenerated and is again available to react to light. Adaptation from dark to light is far more rapid. rapid change in adaptation luminance can be hazardous. 50. Fig. Adaptation luminance The average luminance level in the field of view to which the eye is momentarily adapted. A = cone adaptation. 11. and is probably attributable to interactions in the neural system of the retina and the optic nerve. The change in threshold sensitivity as result of the process of photochemical adaptation. 11 . Fig. From an average luminance level of 100 cd/m2 (a well-lit interior) to a very low level. and generally takes less than a minute. At a constant lighting level the ratio between stimulated and unstimulated pigment is more or less in equilibrium. it will take the cones about 10 minutes to regain nearly complete sensitivity. 11). Transient adaptation takes only a few tenths of a second. Transient adaptation. This is a change in eye sensitivity over a maximum range of about 1. but the lighting level is drastically lowered it takes time for the pigments to regenerate. the chemical composition of the photo-sensitive pigments in (lie rods and cones changes. is called the adaptation luminance. when than that of man. whereby a minute electric current Is released. The cat’s eye is more light-sensitive Fig 13. a too system is of a superior qualify. and therefore plays an important role it strong luminance contrasts occur in the field of view. the rods will need 30 to 60 minutes. is mainly because the optical entering a tunnel during the daytime. B = = rod adaptation. Especially in situations like here. 12. plotted against time. The sensitivity of the eye is largely a function of the percentage of unstimulated rods and cones. When light enters the eye. Photochemical adaptation.

under favourable circumstances. 12 . 14. the human eye is.The retina is sensitive. Nevertheless. If the object we are looking at is at far distance. a process which normally takes place subconsciously. 12). it becomes clear that the visual process Is accompanied by constant interaction between the internal and external eye muscles. 2. This can be explained tram the fact that the cat's pupil . which is called 'convergence’ (Fig. some animals have a still more acute eye sensitivity six to seven times in the case of the cat for example (Fig. the eyes will have to rotate inward to keep them fixed on the same target point. able to perceive a single photon. It is the only sub-atomic phenomenon that is directly discernable for the human being. With objects situated at different distances. the Lines of sight of the two eyes will intersect at the target point.It fully opened .is much larger than that of a human being in relation to the focal distance. When looking at a nearby object.3 Convergence Convergence allows us to see a single target with both eyes Almost invariably. Accurate trimming of the eye position to the required angle of convergence Is done by the eye muscles. the angle of convergence will shut continually. and also because behind the retina there is a light reflecting layer. It explains why too abrupt changes to lower or higher levels should be avoided. This Is achieved by rotating the eyes Inward. however. Normally. Thus the light passes through the retina twice and so has a double chance of being detected. When focussing to a more nearby object. The process of adaptation. the eyes will be positioned so that the lines of sight are in parallel. 13). we use both our eyes to look at one and the same target. The angle of convergence thereby increases (from α to α'). resulting in a higher illuminance on the retina at a given luminance level. and especially the time lag involved in adapting to very low lighting levels. 14). especially it safety is at stake (Fig. to single photons When completely adapted to darkness. Fig. this action needs no more than a few tenths of a second. and so will the state of accommodation of the lent As often the pupil width will also have to adapt to a different object luminance. is of great importance for lighting practice.

in letter recognition! for example. A worn. *) ‘Reflectance’ (ρ) is the ratio between reflected arid incident light. 3. 15. Age has a marked negative effect on visual acuity. 16). the minimum angle under which two visual targets can still be seen separately. Visual acuity depends on various factors Visual acuity depends in the first place on the quality of the visual organ. 15). contrast in colour and contrast in luminance.2. it is expressed In minutes of arc. What is generally assessed as ‘visus’ in the consulting-room of the opthalmologist is not so much the pure visual acuity of the eye. Fig. an effect that has to be eliminated when doing scientific research on resolution acuity 3. 13 . We call this contrast. Relative visual acuity plotted against adaptation luminance (La). Contrast can take two forms. which mostly occur together. the way the brain processes the visual information and compares it with what is already known plays an important role. using test persons with normal eyesight and not older than 50 years. A special form of the latter is the contrast between specular and diffuse reflection from surfaces of the same colour and reflectance*).Lb) / Lb where: C = contrast value Lo = object luminance Lb = background luminance Fig.1 Visual acuity Visual acuity can be described as the ability to differentiate between closely spaced visual stimuli.1 Luminance contrast Contrast value Contrast in luminance can be expressed in several ways. one of the most commonly used by lighting engineers being according to the equation. but also varies like contrast detection . but the recognition acuity (Fig. C = (Lo . Measurements have been taken under conditions of optimum contrast.2 Contrast detection Forms of contrast Most at the visual information we receive is the result of luminous variations in the field of view. 3. glossy patch on a piece of textile is a good example. It takes values between 0 and 1.with background luminance and observation time (Fig. 16 Commonly used test symbols for determination of the ‘visus' The critical detail is represented by 'd’. Visual ability 3.

because it takes the overall luminance of the visual scene.95 (absolute values). the power of the eye to detect contrasts steeply increases. The contrast ratio (Lh/LI) between white piper and black print can take values between 15 : and 20. 18. Fig. 17.detection power starts to fall off if observation time is less than half a second. Only at very high luminance values does contrast sensitivity tend to tail off again due to glare problems. the state of adaptation of the eye Generally speaking. Starting from very low luminance levels. 17). until at an average background luminance of some 100 candelas per square metre a more or less stationary state of maximum contrast detection is reached (Fig. Contrast detection sensitivity plotted against adaptation luminance. the contrast ratio between white paper and black ink can take values between 15 : 1 and 20: 1 (Fig. Factors influencing contrast detection power The ability of the eye to detect luminance contrasts depends mainly on the overall luminance of the scene or. Other factors influencing contrast detection are the size of the contrasting object and the time of observation. 1. . corresponding to contrast values (L0-Lb)/Lb of between 0. Fig. according to the equation: C = Lh/Ll where: C = contrast ratio Lh = higher luminance LI = lower luminance For example. At conditions of good contrast detection an adaptation luminance of 100 cd/m2 or more . 18). Contrast ratio A simpler way to express contrasts is as the ratio of luminances resulting from differences in reflectance.93 and 0. and therefore the state of adaptation of the eye into account. Measurements have her carried out for an apparent object size of 20 minutes of arc (a football et 40 metres distance). or the apparent size smaller than 30 minutes of arc (the diameter of the full moon). in other words. This formula is particularly useful under conditions of artificial lighting.

— An overall luminance level sufficient to permit of full adaptation for cone vision. the trained eye is capable of distinguishing between infinitesimal colour differences. The part of the gray ring seen against the black background seems somewhat lighter than the part seen against the white This effect is enhanced by placing a pencil along the black-white function. under favourable conditions. In the case of a dark object against a bright background. Contrast effects The eye will not appraise luminance values the same way under all circumstances if strong luminance contrasts occur in the field of view. and also has a colour temperature the spectral energy distribution curve of which does not 15 . Nevertheless. contrast sensitivity falls steeply. a piece of black knitting will show Its texture against a dark background. 3. The conditions that have to be fulfilled are. 19 Contrast effects (simultaneous contrast). Fig. and as such will be further explained in the next section. especially at the lower adaptation luminances. — illumination by a light source that displays a continuous (black-body) spectrum. which would be clearly visible against a black background Thus.2. They also appear between contrasting colours. the subjective brightness impressions from the contrasting surfaces will be more exaggerated. the adaptation luminance of the eye will be too high lo perceive small contrast differences in the surface of that object. These contrast effects. it is generally accepted that colour contrasts contribute to a lesser degree to visual information than do luminance contrasts. without excessive brightness contrasts in the field of view. 19). but seem a uniform black against a white background. which will then appear darker (Fig. A white surface placed against a black background will make the white seem 'whiter'. play an important role In our everyday visual world. At old age.2 Colour contrast Conditions for detection of colour contrasts Although difficult to assess. And the same holds true for a dark object against a very bright background. which may occur simultaneously as well as successively. The cause of these contrast effects must be sought in the inability of the eye to adapt simultaneously to strongly different luminances.

arid reddish against a bright green surface. two colour shades that look different under one light source will be indistinguishable under another. a black or white surface will look greenish against a bright red surface. and the reverse is true as well. red appearance by placing it on a bed of lettuce leaves. A green surface will look more saturated in contrast with a red surface. Colour contrast effects are explained from the differences in adaptation level that can exist between cones of different colour sensitivities. until the red-sensitive cones are adapted to the new situation. nor too blue. the lower adaptation luminance of the green and blue-sensitive cones will result in a shift toward the complementary colour. *) According to Wien's displacement law. ever it the colour appearance of the two light sources is the same. the light should be neither too 'red'. but a line or band spectrum. the ability of the eye to distinguish between colours will be seriously impaired. which is approximately the colour temperature of summer sun light at noon. For example. red appearance (Fig 20). The phenomena of colour contrast are of particular interest to the interior decorator and the lighting designer as well. higher luminance level than the green or blue-sensitive ones. This is one of the phenomena that are known under the general term ‘metamerism' This has been explained in Lesson 3 of this course Colour contrast effects Contrasting colours have a mutual influence on each other The general effect is the under the influence of a surface of strongly saturated colour. for example. If the coloured surfaces are adjacent. When the red stimulus is removed. if one sees the hue of the complementary colour after looking away from a surface of a strongly saturated colour. When looking at a red surface. it is called 'simultaneous contrast’. 16 . In other words. one speaks of 'successive contrast'. Successive and simultaneous contrast These contrast effects work In time as well as in space. Fig. the red-sensitive cones will be adapted to a. 20. Butchers take advantage of this effect by displaying their meat on a bed of lettuce leaves to give it a fresh. It determines to a large extent in how far colour effects will enhance or just spoil the overall result. differ too much from the spectral eye-sensitivity curve for photopic vision (which has its peak sensitivity at 555 nm*). other surfaces will take on a bus of the complement of that colour. a black-body radiator whose radiation peak lies at 555 nm has a colour temperature of 5220 K. Under certain circumstances. Butchers make use of the effect of simultaneous contrast between red and green to give their meet a fresh. Metamerism If the light source under which colours are observed has not a continuous.

real three-dimensional vision is Impossible.05 per cent at 1 metre. 5 per cent at 100 metres. by using spectacles. the two pictures carp be brought together to form a ‘three- dimensional' image. With one eye only. the left eye sees an object from another angle than the right one.a process that can be compared with triangulation in geodetics . If. 3. a pair of pictures can be obtained which show the same perspective shift as when looking with both eyes. for example from the apparent size of familiar objects. This Is achieved by the process of convergence. Man can judge differences in distance by three-dimensional vision over a range of more than one kilometre. however. in shod the effects that are used to suggest a third dimension In a two-dimensional picture.3 Three-dimensional vision The human being has two eyes which normally work together to present a single visual impression to the brain. With a photographic camera which has two closely spaced lenses. 0. the overlapping of distant objects by nearer ones.5 per cent at 10 metres. that the Images of an object formed on the retinae are not quite the same due to perspective shill.a result well-known to those who have ever drunk too much alcohol. Fig. It is doubtful if this is achieved in the first place by the brain monitoring the degree of convergence of the eyes . details which disappear with distance. Each eye receives a different image The chief underlying mechanism seems rather to be. from about 0. providing favourable visual conditions and a good eyesight for both eyes.although it might play a role for large distances. to more than 25 per cent at 1000 metres. Seeing 'depth’ Binocular vision allows us to assess the distance of objects and their relative position in space. which is interpreted by the brain as 'depth’ (Fig 21). the eye muscles are so coordinated that the object of attention is accurately projected on the foveae of both eyes. (or some reason. rapidly increases with distance. the coordination tails. The inaccuracy (the minimum distance difference discernible). one gets a double picture . 21. Thus. although outside clues may help in assessing distance. or the phenomena of perspective. 17 . II not too tar away. man Is able to see Three-dimensionally by using both eyes. or a viewer with prismatic glasses.

because of their proliferation. in diopters. Chromatic aberration occurs because light of different wavelengths does not come to focus at the same point. compared with other light sources. The amount of spherical aberration varies with lire state of accommodation of the eye. there are a number of visual detects that. chromatic aberration is stronger at the blue end than at the red end of the spectrum. Blue light Is refracted more than red light (Fig. Chromatic aberration in the unaccomodated eye. the unaccommodated eye. Fig. but nevertheless shows some of the aberrations inherent to image-forming by lenses. Blue Fig. the eye plotted. and becomes particularly manifest at wavelengths shorter than 400 nm (the violet region. and Is also susceptible to overload. 25). but hardly at all will the diameter of the pupil. Visual imperfections The human eye is a remarkably well-designed optical instrument. as it shows a sharp increase from the pupil centre up to a distance of about one millimetre from it. Chromatic aberration of light focusses in front of rho fovea (F’) and red light behind (F”). 25. 22. 4. 23. need a short description here. 23). like the yellow light from low-pressure sodium lamps. against the distance Fig. 4. in diopters. are very noticeable. Spherical aberration in from the pupil center for the unaccommodated eye. Spherical aberration plotted. Fig. 24). especially if the pupil diameter is large. On the other hand. The peripheral rays focus in front of the fovea. 22). Besides. 18 . as will normally be the case at the low luminances encountered in road lighting. The ‘crisp’ images thus obtained under this light. against the wavelength.1 Aberrations of the optical system Optical aberrations Spherical aberration occurs because light that enters through the periphery of the cornea is refracted more than light entering through the centre The point of focus of these peripheral rays lies in front of the fovea. resulting in a certain degree of blur (Fig. but then remains practically constant (Fig. 24. the slight blur caused by chromatic aberration Ls absent under monochromatic light. see Fig.

to such a degree that a uniform luminous veil is drawn over the retina (Fig. Adaptative glare ‘Adaptative glare' is another form of disability glare. The photograph clearly shows the luminous veil arising in the cornea. Veiling glare is mainly caused by scattering of light in The cornea and lens. It can be caused by excessive luminance values in the field of view. 4. 26. As the name says. Glare is of two fundamentally different types. A frequently occurring form is veiling glare’. whereby light Is dispersed or scattered in the optical system of the eye . but does not necessarily impair visibility. Fig 27. discomfort glare causes discomfort. the eye adapts to these luminance values. 27).notably in the cornea and the lens . probably the result of frequent changes in pupil size caused by excessive brightness contrasts.2 Glare Overload causes glare Glare is a familiar phenomenon. and thus Impairs visibility. This reduces the contrast sensitivity of the eye. 19 . too high luminance contrasts or a combination of both. it the source of high luminance is suddenly removed (as with the headlights of an oncoming car. Veiling glare Disability glare is (he result of interference in the visual process. When high luminances occur In the field of vision. although resulting from the same causes. it will still take the eye some time to adapt to lower luminance values (Fig. Discomfort glare is a sensation of annoyance or pain. Fig. The headlights of an oncoming car may produce very disturbing and dangerous form of adaptative glare. making it difficult it not impossible to perceive contrasts in darker areas of the field of view. 26).

This is the reason why the flicker of one hundred periods per second from fluorescent and other gas-discharge lamps . Cinema and television The effect of persistence of vision. and thus produce a potentially dangerous situation. and/or in complementary colours. 4. The problem of glare is of particular Imporlarce to the lighting engineer. sufferers from epilepsy appear to be more sensitive to this effect.c. as it is called. If the frequency of flickering exceeds a certain value the flickering ettect will disappear. It Is also of concern to the lighting engineer. Ills clear that such a spacing should be avoided. alter fixing on an object. When. so as to coincide with the critical frequency. These are of the same shape and size as the object.resulting from the 50 Herz a. Critical fusion frequency Light stimuli following each other in rapid succession at regular intervals will cause flicker. Indeed. although other factors. resulting in dizziness and. or somewhat more. such as the intensity of the flickering light source. one looks away at a more or less neutral surface. but often darker or brighter. and of different colour. like a machine part.5 and 15 periods per second. it is subject to time lag. 20 . as it could occur when driving through a tunnel if luminaires have been badly spaced. but each picture is presented three times by a modern projector. and the eye will perceive a steady light source. This effect is known as 'successive contrast.2 of this lesson. Several methods have in ihis connection been developed to epress glare in quantilative terms. eventually unconsciousness. Disturbing flicker Flicker at frequencies below the critical fusion frequency may produce very disturbing effects. The flicker of a fluorescent tube can produce this effect under certain circumstances. Stroboscopic effects Stroboscopic effects also result from flicker. its effect will persist for a shorter or longer time. is due to the time lag in the retina. easily remedied. also play a role. Car drivers may experience it when driving along a tree-lined road when the sun is low at the horizon. in trying to follow what is going on. They may persist for seconds or minutes. The most dangerous frequency region In this respect Is between 2. after-images can occur. will suffer from a form of overload related to epilepsy. is illuminated by light flashes of the same frequency as the movement. It is fundamental to cinema and television.may become noticeable under unfavourable circumstances. as much can be done to prevent it by judicious design of lighting installations.3 After-Images and flicker After-images result from time lag in the retinal process Because the visual process in the retina is essentially a photochemical one. This means that. If a periodically moving object. after a visual stimulus is taken away. *) Twenty-four picture frames per second in cinema. where continuous movement is created by presenting a series of pictures in rapid succession *). and then closing the eyes. and sometimes longer. The frequency at which this happens (‘critical fusion frequency') depends on the luminance of the flickering light source. and has been described in Section 3. it will appear to stand still (or move very slowly if the frequencies are slightly different). which is. supply . a subject that will be dealt with in one of the loilowing lessons. and Is more pronounced in the cones than in the rods. the after-image will appear in negative contrast with respect to the original. but generally lies in the order of fifty periods per second. After fixing on an object -especially a bright one for some time. The brain. however. It Is for this reason that flicker will more easily be detected by the periphery of the retina than by the fovea.

29. the point of focus then lies behind the retina (Fig. The most common of these detects are briefly described here. the lens has lost its transparency or its ability to accommodate or because of anomalies in the shape of the eyeball. The result is that one Is not able to locus simultaneously on. Image-forming in the unaccommodated long-sighted eye. 21 . someone suffering from hypermetropia can usually bring distant objects into focus. Far- away objects cannot therefore be seen sharply. Fig. and the dotted lines in the plane at right angles. Image-forming In the unaccommodated short-sighted eye. Fortunately. most of these are rare. a horizontal line Fig. When the eye is at rest. 28). Long-sightedness or ‘hypermetropia’ is caused because the eye is too short with respect of the rest of the optical system.1 Defects of the optical system These are caused because the curvature of the cornea is not normal. Due to irregularities In the shape of the cornea or the roundness of the eyeball. Image-forming in the unaccommodated astigmatic eye. The solid fines represent the path of light rays in one plane. the eye is a stranger lens In one plane than in the other. When the eye is at rest (not accommodated) the point of focus then lies in front of the retina (Fig. 28. say. On the other hand. but nearby objects cannot be seen sharply. 4. 4. Shortsightedness or 'myopia’ is caused because the eye is too long with respect to the rest of the optical system. By using his power of accommodation. a shod- sighted person can locus on objects that are much closer to the eye than normal spectacles with concave lenses provide the remedy.4 Defects of vision Not every eye is a perfect optical instrument The human eye can show a great variety of defects. Fig. 29).4. Long- sightedness can be corrected by wearing spectacles with convex lenses Astigmatism Is another common defect of the eye. but some are quite widespread. 30.

4.4. That vitamin A deficiency causes night-blindness can be explained from the fact that the chemical composition of vitamin A is much like that of the light-sensitive pigment in the rods. called 'rhodopsin'.3 Defects in the retinal process Complete and partial colour blindness Colour-blindness occurs in various degrees. 32.4 Age defects Eyesight declines with age When growing older. but only 0. Colour-blindness is thought to be caused by the absence or non-functioning of one (partial colour-blindness) or two (total colour-blindness) of the cone pigments that are necessary for colour vision. mans eyesight deteriorates. There are two varieties: One is hereditary and the other is the result of a deficiency of vitamin A. Some conditions affect only a small proportion of the older people but there are a number from which virtually all human beings suffer or will suffer. Fig. but then at a rapidly increasing rate. Cataract is nowadays cured by replacing the defective lens by one of soft plastics. Loss of Fig.4. The latter are principally caused by changes in the tissues that form the optical pathway. The most common variant is the inability to distinguish between red and green. Partial colour-blindness is sex-linked it effects about 8 per cent of the male. or ‘strabismus’ as it's officially termed. Cataract is the name of the condition in which the lens becomes opaque. 22 . first slowly.4 per cent or the female population. power. that eye becoming virtually Inoperative. The cause of strabismus must be sought In defects of the eye musculatura. 4. Night-blindness or hemeralopia is a condition in which vision at low intensities is much poorer than normal. and a vertical one (Fig. varying from slight deviations from normal colour vision to complete monochromatism. although the latter condition is extremely rare. in cannot be brought to focus through lack of accommodating diopters . but if the condition lasts long enough the brain will ignore the information obtained from one of the eyes. plotted against age. Nearby objects accommodation power. Astigmatism can be corrected by wearing spectacles with lenses that have curvatures greater in one plane than in the plane al right angles (so-called cylindrical lenses). In both cases the cause must be sought in poor functioning of the rods In the retina. image-forming in the presbyopic eye. This can result from various illnesses or old age and eventually leads to blindness. The initial effect is double vision. is a condition whereby the two eyes cannot be brought to locus on one and the same point.4.2 Defects in binocular vision Coordination defects cause squinting Squinting. hardening and subsequent yellowing of the lens and loss of transparency of the cornea and the vitreous humour. 30). 31. 4.

because it is universal and manifests Itself most strongly at levels common for artificial lighting. the lens loses its power of accommodation (Fig 31). To perform a specified (reading) task. Distant objects give no problems. Fig. although it affects the absolute threshold of vision as well. Light requirement for a specific reading task. to achieve a certain decree of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. It brings with it a loss of overall eye sensitivity. It is the task of the lighting designer to also take the needs of older people Into account. It also makes the eye more sensitive to disability glare. Presbyopia From about 45 years on. The main effect is that. as the cloudy tissues produce more scattering. 33). and It is for that reason that older persons easily suffer from problems with their eyesight when performing demanding visual tasks. and the lens In particular starts to turn yellow. 23 . 32). becomes particularly clear If a person that is born blind regains his eyesight later in life he or she has then to learn how to see. the eye tissues gradually lose their transparency. a higher adaptation uminance will be necessary. a person of 60 will need a minimum lighting level as much as 15 times higher than that needed by a 10 year old (Fig. but nearby seeing (reading for example) becomes increasingly more difficult (Fig. Psychological and physiological effects of light We 'see’ the world with our brain ‘Perception is recognition’. For reasons of economic feasibility. 33. Our brain has learned to interpret the visual stimuli the eyes receive as a representation of the world around us. In contrast with the eye defects earlier mentioned . Spectacles with convex lenses provide the remedy. a condition that is known as ‘presbyopia’. many lighting installations provide only marginally sufficient light for complete adaptation to photopic vision. of contrast sensitivity. of visual acuity. for example. That this is not so obvious as it might seem on the face of it. because The yellow lens transmits a lower proportion of blue radiation. 5. Old people need as much as 15 times more light for a specific task than do the young The old-age condition of declining eye sensitivity Is particularly manifest in the lower ranges of adaptation luminance for cones. Decline of eye sensitivity From about 50 years of age. plotted against age. The decline of eye sensitivity with age is also of consideration to the lighting engineer. to perform a certain visual task. which are principally in the domain of the ophtalmologist. This condition affects almost all visual functions. In other words. an older person will need more light than a young one. and of colour sensitivity.

A gray surface in full sunshine may have a higher luminance than a while surface in the shadow. On the other hand. The brain can correct the picture offered. illusions of perspective. the world is nevertheless seen in us ‘normal colours. but the brain will have no problems in distinguishing between the two shades. whereas the image thrown on the retina is in tact upside-down. E and F. illusions of parallelism. C and D. it also translates the perspectively different images on the retinae of both eyes as depth. G. like at sunset. 24 . as it does not seem to stand in direct relationship to the visual process. as it takes the brightness impression from the overall visual scene into account. under freak conditions. 34). illusion of depth (apparent spiral). For example. unless one specially notices. Fig. It gives us an upright picture at the visual scene. H illusion of movement The brain’s power of interpretation enables us to perceive things we do not actually see. under an illumination with a distinct reddish hue. but it is nevertheless difficult to explain. 34. Well-known examples are found amongst the so-called ‘optical illusions’ (Fig. That light has a direct emotional influence is known to all. but also be tricked by it The brain can correct the picture offered as well. the visual image can play tricks with the brain. Examples of optical illusion: A and B illusions of size.

25 . prevents tiredness. Colours also have an influence on our impression of space. to a certain extent. but also stimulates concentration and. There is also an emotional relationship between lighting level and the colour of the light. however. Red and yellow colours create a feeling of warmth and comfort. whereas poor quality lighting provokes a general feeling of discomfort. which controls the hormonal balance. to locus on a red surface at far distance. The anatomical proof of this is the existence of a direct nerve link between the retina and the pineal gland. whereas green generally induces a feeling of rest and relaxation. A room with red-coloured walls looks smaller than a blue or white one of the same dimensions*). as quite acceptable at normal daylight levels. back in the cranium. Eye performance 6. As a result of chromatic aberration a normal eye is slightly hypermetropic for red light. Short-wave light has a direct influence on the pigmentation of the skin and is by many people felt as beneficial. *) There is. on the other hand. 35). the eye has to accommodate. Bluish light. 35. Fig. Light has a direct influence on metabolism Light also has a direct influence on metabolism. Therefore. physiological explanation for this phenomenon as well. Colour influences the mood of people Particularly manifest is the influence of colour on the mood of people. Relationship between eye performance and lighting criteria The various characteristics of eye performance can be summed up as follows: Light perception . which are transmitted to the brain. Balanced lighting not only facilitates visual perception. independent of the visual process. The influence of short- wave light and ultraviolet radiation on pigmentation of the skin is also well- known (Fig.The light received by the eye is converted into electric stimuli. blue gives a cool impression and stimulates activity. but at low levels it creates a ghastly impression. Yellow or reddish light of a low level generally contributes to a feeling of cosiness and comfort. but if the level Is Increased It can become very obtrusive. inflicting on the brain an impression of 'nearness'.

The human eye is. The complexity of its construction and working accounts for a number of particularities of the visual process The characteristic properties of the eye determine for the greater part the requirements that have to be fulfilled for good and unimpaired perception. to a high degree. 26 . Perception of space .the eye is trained on a moving object. The relationship between visual requirements and lighting criteria will be fully discussed in Lesson 6 of this course. —avoidance of glare. These visual requirements have. able to distinguish between different wavelengths or light. Visual requirements Having formulated these perception characteristics. it is now necessary to define the visual requirements that have to be satisfied for proper perception and recognition. Directional perception . Recapitulating. —The object must be presented for a certain minimum period of time. in turn. the following five requirements can be derived.Separate visual elements are integrated in the brain to form a complete picture. in how far these requirements can be met depends to a large extent on the luminance distribution in the visual scene. is predominantly the result of the illuminance conditions. —spatial distribution of light.Light stimuli arriving on different parts of the retina are interpreted by the brain as coming from different directions. the eye muscles will trim the position of the eye to keep it in focus. a bearing on one or more of the principal lighting criteria outlined in Lesson 1 of this course. which need to be fulfilled to make the detection of an object possible: —The object must have a certain minimum apparent size. Perception of movement . but from the reflective properties in relation to the overall visual scene. Conclusion The role of the lighting engineer The human eye is a highly complex instrument with tremendous possibilities. —light colour and colour rendering. —The eye must be adapted to the overall luminance in the field of view —The object must have a certain minimum contrast (in brightness and/or Lighting criteria colour) with respect to its surroundings. Perception of shape . The play of the eye muscles also informs the brain about the direction and speed of movement. —luminance distribution in the field at view. in turn. recognizable in shape and structure. This. Perception of reflectivity . Colour perception .The brain combines the images from both eyes to obtain an impression of ‘depth’. these relate to: —lighting level. —The object must have a certain minimum luminance. the domain of the lighting engineer.The brightness of an object is not judged by the brain from the absolute luminance value. From what has been discussed in the course of this lesson.