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The effects of retinal image motion on the limits of spatial vision

  • Author(s): Ratnam, Kavitha
  • Advisor(s): Roorda, Austin
  • et al.
Abstract

Vision is not a static process. Our perception of the world is not merely a sequence of fixed snapshots but rather involves a dynamic process in which the visual input is synthesized over time to provide a more detailed and informative signal than would otherwise be possible using a fixed array of sensors. This dynamic signal is largely a result of fixational eye motion, or the constant ocular jitter that creates an ever-changing signal in each photoreceptor cell. It is not known how the visual system potentially exploits such transient signals to serve our finest spatial acuity, and how the relationship between visual acuity and the photoreceptor sampling limit can be muddled because of this fact. We used an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope to precisely control the spatiotemporal input on a cellular scale in human observers to assess how acuity differed as a function of retinal image motion. Additionally, we investigated the purpose of fixational eye motion, and in particular microsaccades, in relocating stimuli to a preferred region within the central foveal region. Combined, these results show the utility of fixational eye movements in high spatial vision.

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