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Thomas J. T. P. van den Berg, Michiel P. J. Hagenouw, Joris E. Coppens; The Ciliary Corona: Physical Model and Simulation of the Fine Needles Radiating from Point Light Sources. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(7):2627-2632. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-0935.
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purpose. Most people see, around bright lights against dark backgrounds, a radiating pattern of numerous fine, slightly colored needles of light—the so called ciliary corona. The purpose of this study was to try to explain this phenomenon.
methods. Recently, it has been shown that light-scattering in the eye, measured psychophysically and on human donor lenses, can be explained assuming the presence of specific distributions of small particles in the eye. Light entering the eye is diffracted by these particles. Each such particle causes a circular diffraction pattern on the retina of tens of degrees, much like the well-known Airy pattern. The optics of combining many such diffraction patterns was modeled and the resultant pattern simulated graphically. The simulations were compared with observations on the ciliary corona, as seen by the natural eye.
results. The diffraction discs originating from all the particles coherently superimposed on the retina. Because of phase differences this resulted in breaking the Airy-like discs into a fine spotted pattern when monochromatic light was used. For white (polychromatic) light, the spots line up to form the very fine-line pattern seen in the ciliary corona. Details such as the width and color of the needles follow from the theoretical treatment and were demonstrated by simulations.
conclusions. The details of the ciliary corona can be understood on the basis of polychromatic light-scattering by the particles predicted to be present in human eye lenses on the basis of light-scattering studies of donor lenses.
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