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The rate of adaptation is a function of the initial adaptation level and
of the color to which the eye has been exposed. Initial exposure to high
brightness levels of blue (short wavelength) radiation causes reduced
rates of adaptation (greater total time). Though it has been found that
the adaptation level may continue to decrease for several hours if the eyes
are kept in darkness, for practical purposes the process may be considered
complete after 30 minutes.
Factors of Vision
For evidence of the similarity of the objectives of the eye specialist and
the illuminating engineer, it is only necessary to compare the criteria,
i.e., the factors of vision, against which each group judges adequacy of
Visual acuity
Time or speed
Visual acuity
Visual efficiency
Visual speed
Visual comfort
Visual health
FIG. 2-4^4. Common visual acuity test objects showing detail (d) to be
seen and the maximum angle subtended (.4). For normal vision rf
mi n
= 1
minute. In most test objects A
Visual Acuity
Visual acuity is the ability to distinguish fine detail. Eye specialists
express it either as a ratio of the distance at which a given line of letters on
a Snellen test chart can be seen by the observer being tested to the dis-
tance at which an observer with normal vision could see it, or as a visual
efficiency rating (expressed in percentages) related to the size of character
in each line, if the American Medical Association chart is used.
Most persons with apparently normal vision can distinguish the details of a
black object on a white background if the detail subtends at least 1 minute at the eye.
At an observation distance of 20 feet (arbitrarily selected as representative of
distance vision) the characters in the normal lines of both charts (20/20 Snellen, 100
per cent A.M.A.) subtend 5 minutes and their detail subtends 1 minute. Details
in the 20/10 line subtend 1 minute at 10 feet and those in the 20/40 line subtend 1
minute at 40 feet. Thus a person with Snellen rating of 20/40 sees at 20 feet what
normal observer would see at 40 feet.