The purposes of this study are to explore the effect of astigmatism and high-order aberrations of progressive-power lenses (PPLs) on visual acuity (VA) and to find a good optical metric for evaluating visual performance of PPLs.
A Hartmann-Shack (HS) wavefront sensor was used to measure PPLs and human eyes either independently or in combination. An additional channel permits the measurement of VA under the same optical conditions. Measurements were taken in six relevant locations of a PPL and in three eyes of different normal subjects. In every case, we obtained the wavefront aberration as Zernike polynomials expansions, the root mean square (RMS) error, and two metrics on point spread function (PSF): Strehl ratio and the common logarithm of the volume under the PSF normalized to one (Log_Vol_PSF).
Aberration coupling of the PPL with the eye tends to equalize the retinal image quality between central and peripheral zones of the progressive lenses. In the corridor of the PPL, the combination of small amounts of coma, trefoil, and astigmatism (total RMS 0.1 mum) does not significantly affect VA. The continuous increase of astigmatism from corridor to outside zones reduces moderately the quality of vision. The highest correlations between optical metrics and VA were found for Log_Vol_PSF of the entire system eye plus PPL.
Ocular aberrations reduce optical quality difference between corridor and peripheral zones of PPLs. In the same way, VA through the corridor is similar to that of eyes without a lens and it decreases slowly toward peripheral locations. VA through PPLs is well predicted by the logarithm of metrics directly related with image spread (Log_Vol_PSF or equivalent) of the complete system of the eye with the lens.