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Optic Physiology


The Human Eye as an Optical System

Schematic Eyes

The model developed by Gullstrand

The Reduced Schematic Eye

Dimensions of the
reduced schematic
eye, defined by P, N,
and F.
The refractive power
of this reduced
schematic eye is 60.0
D, with its principal
P = anterior corneal surface plane at the front
N = the simplified nodal point of the eye surface of the cornea.
F = the fovea
Using this reduced schematic eye, we can calculate the
retinal image size of an object in space (such as a Snellen

Eq. Nodal point to retina distance is 17.0 mm. Eye chart

to eye distance is 20 ft (6000 mm). The height of a
Snellen letter is 60 mm. The resulting image size on
the retina is 0.17 mm.
Important Axes of the Eye

The pupillary axis (red line) = the line perpendicular to the corneal
surface, passing through the midpoint of the entrance pupil (E).
The visual axis (green line) = the line connecting the fixation target (O)
and the fovea (F).
If all the optical elements of the human eye were in perfect alignment, these 2
lines would overlap. However, the fovea is normally displaced from its
expected position.
The optical axis (blue line) = the line passing through the optical centers
of the cornea, lens, and center of the fovea.
Angle kappa () Angle alpha ()

The angle between the pupillary axis and

the visual axis The angle between the optical axis and
(+) when the fovea is located
the visual axis of the eye
temporally, as is the usual case.
Conditions that cause temporal dragging of
(+) when the visual axis in object
the retina (eq. ROP) large positive angle space lies on the nasal side of the
kappa pseudoexotropia. optical axis, as is normally the case.
A large positive angle
kappa also mask a
small-angle esotropia; can
be detected by the cover
uncover test.
Pupil Size and Its Effect on Visual Resolution

Pinhole aperture is placed in front of an eye acts

as an artificial pupil the size of the blur circle <<
The pinhole is used clinically to measure pinhole
visual acuity.
VA >> refractive error

The most useful pinhole diameter for general clinical purposes

[refractive errors (5.00 D) (+5.00 D) = 1.2 mm.
> (+5.00 D) use a lens that corrects most of the refractive error in addition to
the pinhole

After the best refractive correction has been determined, the

pinhole can also be used with a dilated pupil.
VA >> optical irregularities (eg. corneal and lenticular light scattering,
irregular astigmatism)
The pinhole serves to restrict light to a relatively normal area of the eyes optics.
VA << macular disease must be considered
Visual Acuity

Minimum legible threshold

Snellen Visual Acuity

Snellen Chart
Snellen Chart

decimal notation
Visual angle minute of
Snellen chart convert
The standard
Contrast Sensitivity and the Contrast Sensitivity Function

The degree of contrast between the object and its

Contrast Sensitivity

A measure of the ability of

the visual system to
distinguish an object
against its background

Target :
Sufficiently large to be seen
High enough contrast with its
Modulation Transfer Function (MTF)

Bar graph with softened


Spatial frequency
the number of light bands
per unit length or per unit

Snellen acuity 100%

contrast = 30 cycle per
Contrast Sensitivity Function
Refractive States of the

The focal point concept

Parallel rays of light from The far point of the
a distant object are emmetropic eye is at
brought to focus on the infinity, and infinity is
retina in the conjugate with the
nonaccommodating retina.

optical power
Parallel light rays from Light rays emanating
infinity focus to a point from a point on the
anterior to the retina, retina focus to a far point
forming a blurred image in front of the eye,
on the retina. between optical
infinity and the
Parallel light rays from Light rays emanating
infinity focus to a point from a point on the
posterior to the retina are divergent as
retina, forming a they exit the eye,
blurred image on the appearing to have come
retina. from a virtual far
point behind the eye.

Light rays from an object do not focus to a single

point, because of variations in the curvature of the
cornea or lens at different meridians.

Regular Astigmatism Irregular Astigmatism

The principal corneal or lenticular meridians

astigmatism (or axes, which are 90 to the
meridians) have constant orientation at
every point across the pupil. The orientation of the principal
Correctable by cylindrical spectacle meridians or the amount of astigmatism
lenses. changes from point to point across
the pupil.
The principal meridians of the cornea, as
a whole, are not perpendicular to one
Regular Astigmatism
meridian is
the steepest

meridian is
the steepest

3. Oblique principal meridians do not lie at, or close to, 90 or 180

Binocular States of the Eyes

Anisometropia = any difference in the spherical

equivalents between the 2 eyes.

Uncorrected anisometropia in children amblyopia (especially if 1 eye is


Aniseikonia = unequal image size; difference in the shape of the

images formed in the 2 eyes.
The most common cause: the differential magnification inherent in the
spectacle correction of anisometropia.

Unilateral aphakia extreme example of hyperopic

anisometropia arising from refractive ametropia.

Mechanism by which the eye change refractive

power by altering the shape of its crystalline
Accomodation effort

Emmetropia with accommodation stimulated.

The posterior focal point is moved forward

in the eye during accommodation.

The far point moves closer to the eye.


Loss of
Epidemiology of Refractive Errors

as the eye
nd 3-14
2 years
1of refracting
D of surface continue to change
Birth to 6

Actually, most
Emmetropization Mechanism

Compensatory loss of 4 D corneal power

Immature human eye develops

Developmental Myopia

Juvenile-onset myopia Adult-onset myopia

Onset = between 7 years and 16 years of age.

Due primarily to growth in axial length.
Risk factors:
Esophoria, against-the-rule
astigmatism, premature birth,
family history, and intensive
Begins at about 20 years of age.
near work.
Extensive near work is a risk factor.
The earlier the onset of
myopia is, the greater is the
degree of progression.
75% of teenagers stabilize
at about age 15 or 16 .
Developmental Hyperopia

Less is known about the epidemiology of

hyperopia than that of myopia.
Increase in the prevalence of adult hyperopia with
age .
Prevention of Refractive Errors

Optical correction has been recommended to reduce the

progression of myopia.
The need to correct refractive errors
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