Purpose: : To demonstrate the experimental feasibility and potential of a binocular adaptive optics system to be used as a visual simulator (B-AOVS) for studying the impact of ocular aberrations in vision. In particular, binocular and monocular visual performance was evaluated after addition of controlled amounts of spherical aberration. The ultimate goal of the experiment was to understand how monochromatic aberrations affect binocular vision, once monocular effects are characterized.
Methods: : The apparatus (B-AOVS) allowed the simultaneous measurement and manipulation of ocular aberrations in the two eyes of a subject. The system incorporated a programmable phase modulator using liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) technology for wavefront shaping. A characteristic of the instrument was its relative simplicity, since both eyes were controlled with a single LCOS phase modulator and one Hartmann-Shack wavefront sensor. The B-AOVS was equipped with a stimulus generator in order to perform visual testing through the modified optics. Contrast sensitivity function (CSF) was measured with the instrument under monocular and binocular conditions adding different amounts of spherical aberration to the subject’s natural aberrations, after defocus correction.
Results: : The B-AOVS was capable of successfully measuring and manipulating the ocular aberrations in the two eyes simultaneously while the subject performed different visual tasks. Binocular CSF obtained with natural and induced spherical aberration exhibited a similar trend to those recorded monocularly. Absolute values were higher in binocular vision, indicating a superior capability for resolving details at lower contrast. The B-AOVS permitted to evaluate the impact of aberrations on the binocular summation effect. The relationship between monocular and binocular vision quality affected by monochromatic aberrations showed a significant complexity.
Conclusions: : A new instrument, the B-AOVS, for studying the effects of aberrations on binocular vision has been demonstrated. The nature of binocular summation effects for different monocular conditions could be further analyzed. This system could be used to perform fundamental studies to better understand the role of aberrations in natural binocular vision.