Expanded Version: A Photon Accurate Model of the Human Eye


A photon accurate model of individual cones in the human eye perceiving images on digital display devices is presented. Playback of streams of pixel video data is modeled as individual photon emission events from within the physical substructure of each display pixel. The thus generated electromagnetic wavefronts are refracted through a four surface model of the human cornea and lens, and diffracted at the pupil. The position, size, shape, and orientation of each of the five million photoreceptor cones in the retina are individually modeled by a new synthetic retina model. Photon absorption events map the collapsing wavefront to photon detection events in a particular cone, resulting in images of the photon counts in the retinal cone array. The custom rendering systems used to generate sequences of these images takes a number of optical and physical properties of the image formation into account, including wavelength dependent absorption in the tissues of the eye, and the motion blur caused by slight movement of the eye during a frame of viewing. The creation of this new model is part of a larger framework for understanding how changes to computer graphics rendering algorithms and changes in image display devices are related to artifacts visible to human viewers.