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Adaptation (eye)

In ocular physiology, adaptation is the ability of the eye to adjust to various levels of darkness and light.

The human eye can function from very dark to very bright levels of light - its sensing capabilities reach across nine orders of magnitude. This means that the brightest and the darkest light signal that the eye can sense are a factor of roughly one thousand million apart. However, in any given moment of time, the eye can only sense a contrast ratio of one thousand. What enables the wider reach is that the eye adapts its definition of what is black. The light level that is interpreted as "black" can be shifted across six orders of magnitude - a factor of one million.

The eye takes approximately 30 minutes to fully adapt from bright sunlight to complete darkness and become one million times more sensitive than at full daylight. In this process, the eye's perception of color changes as well. However, it takes approximately five minutes for the eye to adapt to bright sunlight from darkness.

Cones and Rods in the eye are used during dark adaptation. Rods are more sensitive to light and so take longer to fully adapt to the change in light. This can take up to a few hours to completely regenerate. Cones take approximately 9 minutes to adapt to the dark.

See also

  • Neural adaptation
  • Photopic vision
  • Purkinje effect
  • Scotopic vision
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Adaptation_(eye)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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