January 25, 2021

Seeing the World Like Never Before: Human stereovision through perfect optics

Stereovision is the ability to perceive fine depth variations from small differences in the two eyes’ images. Using adaptive optics, we show that even minute optical aberrations that are not clinically correctable, and go unnoticed in everyday vision, can affect stereo acuity. Hence, the human binocular system is capable of using unnaturally fine details that are not encountered in everyday vision. More importantly, stereoacuity was still considerably variable even with perfect optics. This variability can be attributed to neural adaptation. Our visual system tries to compensate for these aberrations through neural adaptation that optimizes stereovision when viewing stimuli through one’s habitual optics. However, the same adaptation becomes ineffective when the optics are changed, even if improved. Beyond optical imperfections, we show that stereovision is limited by neural adaptation to one’s own optics.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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