Indexed on: 08 Aug '12Published on: 08 Aug '12Published in: Journal of vision
We use adaptive optics (AO) techniques to manipulate the ocular aberrations and elucidate the effects of these ocular aberrations on contrast detection in a noisy background. The detectability of sine wave gratings at frequencies of 4, 8, and 16 circles per degree (cpd) was measured in a standard two-interval force-choice staircase procedure against backgrounds of various levels of white noise. The observer's ocular aberrations were either corrected with AO or left uncorrected. In low levels of external noise, contrast detection thresholds are always lowered by AO correction, whereas in high levels of external noise, they are generally elevated by AO correction. Higher levels of external noise are required to make this threshold elevation observable when signal spatial frequencies increase from 4 to 16 cpd. The linear-amplifier-model fit shows that mostly sampling efficiency and equivalent noise both decrease with AO correction. Our findings indicate that ocular aberrations could be beneficial for contrast detection in high-level noises. The implications of these findings are discussed.