Optics & Refraction




The Light
 Is that part of the electro-magnetic

spectrum to which the human eye is sensitive i.e. the visible part of the electro-magnetic spectrum.  It’s wavelength range is 400-760 nm.


Electromagnetic spectrum

waves in nm Gamma UV Visible light 400-760 IR Radio & TV


transmit the light. . one of three things may happen to it: 1-Absorbtion: opaque materials for example black bodies. absorb the light which falls on them. 2-Reflection. materials such as mirror surfaces. reflect the light backwards. 3-Transmition : transparent materials such as glass. allowing to pass through them but it’s direction will be changed (Refraction). a considerable proportion of it.  If a ray of light meets a body in its passage through space.Light  Light travels through space in straight lines.

Incident ray Refraction 7 .

Reflection 8 .

9 .

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Such a medium is typified in the prism 11 .REFRACTION BY PRISMS When light passes through a medium with parallel sides the incident rays and the emergent rays are parallel. but if the sides of the medium are not parallel the direction of the rays must also change.

Angle of the prism Apex 12 .

Its original direction is thus completely changed. 13 . The two sides AC and HF are not parallel. and from the direction EF to HG on leaving the plate. The beam is therefore bent from the position AB to DC on entering the plate.Refraction by a glass plate with non-parallel sides.

Thus while the light is deviated towards the base.prism  the entire deviation is towards the base. the image is displaced towards the apex of the prism 14 . The total amount of the deviation between the incident ray and the emergent ray is called the angle of deviation.

Example of use of prism 15 .

each individual ray will be bent to a different degree and the rays may then all meet at a focus. 3.Optical density of the two media concerned.Wavelength of the light 16 . The distance of this focus from the surface depends on 1.REFRACTION AT A CURVED SURFACE When parallel rays of light strike a spherical surface.Curvature of the surface 2.

17 . The first surface of such a system tends to focus parallel incident rays and then again at the second surface a further focusing occurs.Refraction by lenses Lens is composed of two smooth curved surfaces that are aligned and enclose a uniform optical medium.

Refraction by spherical lenses A spherical lens has one or both of its surfaces curved in the form of a sphere.Lenses are of many varieties. and the ones most commonly used in ophthalmic practice are spherical and cylindrical with either convex or concave surfaces or combinations of these. 18 .

-. originally parallel.Fig. to a focus. 19 .Refraction to a focus by convex lens (two prisms placed base to base) can bring two rays of light.

20 .The refraction of light by concave lens (two prisms placed apex to apex ) refract light in a diverging manner.Fig.

P'. as shown in the figure. refracts light in a diverging manner. A system of prisms arranged apex to apex. Such a system constitutes a concave lens. 21 . P". P"' may be taken as the prism elements in the lens. Refraction of light by a system of prisms.Diverging effect is produced by a concave lens Fig.

Types of spherical lenses: Biconvex Plano-convex Convex meniscus Biconcave Plano-concave Concave meniscus .

A biconvex lens may be considered as formed by the intersection of two spheres whose centres are O" and O‘.Fig. The formation of convex lenses. 23 .

The formation of concave lenses.Fig. 24 . A biconcave lens may be considered to be formed by the approximation of two spheres whose centres are O" and O'.

The formation of concave lenses.Fig. is formed by the approximation of a sphere and a plane surface. A plano-concave lens. 25 .

and its distance from the lens is called the focal length. at this point the image will be formed… This point is known as the principal focus. 26 . they will be converged upon a single point on the other side of the lens.Images formed by convex lenses If the incident rays are parallel (that is come from infinity). .

coming from infinity. In practice. and the rays of light issuing from it are parallel 27 . the focus (F) is called the principal focus.Fig. an object which is 6 metres or more away. is considered to be at infinity. The incident rays are parallel.

the focus is at a point. A and B are conjugate foci. a corresponding distance on the other side of the lens. B.Fig. 28 .The source of light (A) is between infinity and F.

B is a virtual focus.Fig. 29 . B. The source of light (A) is between F and the lens. the focus is at a point. behind the source of light.

30 . The image formed by a convex lens. and also beyond the principal focus (F2) on the other side of the lens. In this case the image is real. inverted. The image (ab) is smaller. The object (AB) is beyond the principal focus F1.Fig.

).Fig. and behind the principal focus on the same side of the lens. The image formed by a convex lens. erect. In this case the image is virtual. The object (AB) is within the principal focus (F. 31 . The image (ab) is larger.

If the incident rays are parallel they will be diverged. These lenses diverge the rays of light so that they never form a real image but always a virtual one. it will be found that the image is virtual. When the object is in any position. 32 . but if they are produced backwards they will all cross the principal axis in a single point on the same side of the lens from which they come this is the principal focus.Images formed by concave lenses  The construction of images formed by concave lenses depends on the application of the same principles as we have just considered. and smaller than the object (Fig-). erect.

is virtual. being formed on the same side of the lens as that from which the incident light comes.Fig. 33 . The image formed by a concave lens. If AB is the object. the image ab is diminished and erect and.

one of the surfaces of which is cylindrical.Refraction by cylindrical lenses a cylindrical lens as used in ophthalmology is a piece of glass. and it may be regarded as formed by the intersection of a solid cylinder ABCD (Figs ). in which it acts as a spherical lens. Fig The formation of a convex cylinder. 34 . It is thus curved in the horizontal meridian (LM). by a vertical plane EFGH in the line of the axis XY.

PQRS. In the plane parallel to the axis XY the cylinder may be considered as a glass plate with parallel sides.Refraction by cylindrical lenses Fig. The formation of a concave cylinder. It is cut by a plane EFGH which runs parallel to the axis. and the segment so delimited forms a cylinder. ABCD is a solid cylinder with an axis XY. Refraction therefore occurs in this meridian. In the plane perpendicular to the axis. the cylinder may be considered as a lens. LM. 35 . No refraction therefore occurs in this meridian.

The action of a convex cylinder.Fig. Rays of light striking the cylinder perpendicularly to the axis A'A" are brought to a focus in the focal line F'F". 36 .

Fig. Rays of light striking the cylinder perpendicularly to the axis A'A" are diverged. Refraction of light by a concave cylinder. and appear to be brought to a virtual focal line F'F" 37 .

Conversely in the case of a concave cylinder. if a point of light is placed in front of the cylinder.sum of these individual foci. 38 . rays falling perpendicular to the axis are diverged according to the same principles as we have discussed in concave lenses. Consequently. but a bright line may be obtained . will be the focal line. no sharp image as a point can be formed on a screen.

the image formed of a point object is a straight line. in a cylindrical lens where one meridian is curved and the one at right angles has no curvature at all. This therefore is the simplest form of an astigmatic lens .Refraction by astigmatic lenses We have seen that with a spherical lens where all meridians have the same curvature the rays coming from a point can be focused as a point. 39 .

Where the two meridians in question are at right angles to each other. because of the different curvature of its meridian. such an astigmatic surface is exemplified in the bowl of a spoon. can never produce a point focus of a point object. 40 .We can now imagine a more complicated system where both meridians are curved but to a different degree. the curve from side to side being greater than that from handle to tip. the condition is termed regular astigmatism. It can therefore be appreciated that an astigmatic lens. With this alone we need concern ourselves here.

F. B. A. C. D. Refraction by an astigmatic lens: Sturm's conoid. VV. the vertical meridian of the refracting body. E. D shows the circle of least diffusion. the horizontal meridian.Fig. 41 . At B the vertical rays are brought to a focus: at F the horizontal rays are brought to a focus. is more curved than HH. G show different sections of the beam after refraction. From B to F is the focal interval of Sturm.

the power of thin glass lenses is related to the surface curvature. This distance forms a convenient standard by which to measure the refractive power. is the distance from it of the focus which it forms of rays of light parallel to the principal axis.THE NOTATION OF LENSES The more a lens is able to refract light the more powerful we consider it to be. For all practical purposes. 42 . we may recall. The focal length of a lens.

and a lens with a focal distance 1 meter away is spoken of as having a refractive power of 1 dioptre (1 D).A focal distance of 1 meter is taken as the unit. while a lens of 0. Since a stronger lens has a greater refractive power. The strength in dioptres is therefore the reciprocal of the focal length expressed in meters. 43 .5 meter.5 D will have a focal distance of 2 meters. the focal distance will be shorter: it therefore follows that a lens of a refractive power of 2 D will have a focal distance of 0.

In the case of a concave lens (A) the line appears to be displaced in the direction of movement. The measurement of the strength of lenses.Fig. A straight line is viewed through the lens and the latter is moved in the direction of the arrow. In a convex lens (B) the line appears to be displaced in the opposite direction. 44 .

45 .

46 .Fig. Refraction by a system of lenses.

If the system consists of two lenses. A and B. Refraction by a system of lenses. the image after refraction by the first lens would be formed at a. separated by a distance G. and brought to a final focus at F. 47 . but on meeting B. the rays are further converged (or diverged).Fig.

PR and QS are the two principal planes. F and F" are the two principal foci. The cardinal points of a compound homocentric system. N' and N" the two nodal points. Bb.Fig. the image. the object. ab. 48 . H' and H". the line upon which the system is centred. AB. the two principal points.

The first nodal point and the first principal points coincide.The equivalence and vertex power of a thick lens in air.Fig. similarly the second. 49 .

Lecture notes ophthalmology 50 . Duke Elder’s Optics & refraction 2.References 1.

51 .