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Ask the Instructor: Depth Perception

Question:

What tint lenses will provide greatest depth perception? I have seen it written both ways – light versus dark tint. My understanding is that dilated pupils will give the most depth perception as more light enters. 

Answer: 

The more light that flows to the eye, without causing eyestrain, the greater your depth of field and your ability to perceive detail, color and contrast. It all comes down to rods and cones, the two different types of receptors in the eye. Cones are resident in the center back portion of the eye (the fovea) and aid in perception of detail and color. This is the part of the eye that receives the critical detailed information about a target when you apply acute visual focus to it at the breakpoint.

Rods, on the other hand, play an important role in peripheral vision. The Rods are resident in the area of the eye that surround the center of the eye. Our peripheral vision is excellent at initially detecting the motion of the target as it emerges from the trap but is not as good at detecting color and contrast.  In low light conditions, when the pupil dilates (gets bigger), more light is pushed to the ambient system (the rods), reducing our depth of field and our ability to perceive color, detail and contrast. In brighter conditions, the pupils constrict, allowing more light into the center of our visual field (the fovea), where depth perception, contrast, color and detail are best perceived.

What conclusions can we draw from all of this? 1) It is best to leverage your peripheral vision when initially acquiring targets. Rather than putting your eyes directly on the arm of the trap, allow your peripheral vision to initially acquire targets initially and apply acute focus through the breakpoint.  2) When selecting the density of your lens tint (brighter or darker), use the lightest lens possible without causing eyestrain. 3) Use lenses with high quality UV and antireflective coatings. Lens coatings, such as those used on Pilla Vivex Lenses, filter out harmful and distracting wavelengths of light, allowing you to wear a lighter lens without eyestrain. 

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