The effect of exposure duration on visual acuity for letter optotypes and gratings.

Research paper by J Jason JJ McAnany

Indexed on: 05 Oct '14Published on: 05 Oct '14Published in: Vision Research


This study compared the effects of exposure duration on letter and grating targets in a visual acuity (VA) task and determined if the broadband nature of letters accounts for their temporal summation characteristics. Log MAR (minimum angle of resolution) VA of five individuals (ages 25-36) was measured with a set of tumbling E optotypes for durations of 24 ms to 1s. The Es were either unfiltered or low-pass filtered to determine the object frequencies (cycles per letter; cplE) mediating VA. The retinal frequencies mediating VA for the unfiltered E (cycles per degree; cpdE) were derived from the ratio of cplE to MAR. Values of cpdE were compared to threshold retinal frequency obtained with band-limited Es and gratings to further evaluate the effects of stimulus bandwidth. Both log MAR and log cplE for the unfiltered E decreased as duration increased up to approximately 260 ms, and were constant thereafter. VA also improved for gratings and band-pass filtered Es, but over a shorter time course (approximately 150 ms). The effect of duration on VA for the broadband E, Gabor, and band-pass filtered E was similar when the object frequencies mediating VA were included in the definition of VA by converting to cpdE. The results indicate that the pattern of temporal integration for the tumbling E is related to its broadband nature. Band-pass filtered letters can simplify the interpretation of VA because the object frequency information mediating VA is known exactly and is independent of duration and letter size.