A Practical Definition of Eye-Limited Display System Resolution

Charles J. Lloyd
Visual Performance, LLC

Marc Winterbottom, Jim Gaska, and Logan Williams
OBVA Laboratory, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH

From the Proceedings of the SPIE - Display Technologies and Applications for Defense, Security, and Avionics, May 2015

Towards a metric of antialiasing sufficiency for 3D displays Practical Definition of Eye-Limited Display System Resolution


Over the past few decades the term “eye-limited resolution” has seen significant use. However, several variations in the definition of the term have been employed and estimates of the display pixel pitch required to achieve it differ significantly. This paper summarizes the results of published evaluations and experiments conducted in our laboratories relating to resolution requirements. The results of several evaluations employing displays with sufficient antialiasing indicate a pixel pitch of 0.5 to 0.93 arcmin will produce 90% of peak performance for observers with 20/20 or better acuity for a variety of visual tasks. If insufficient antialiasing is employed, spurious results can indicate that a finer pixel pitch is required due to the presence of sampling artifacts. The paper reconciles these findings with hyperacuity task performance which a number of authors have suggested may require a much finer pixel pitch. The empirical data provided in this paper show that hyperacuity task performance does not appear to be a driver of eye-limited resolution. Asymptotic visual performance is recommended as the basis of eye-limited resolution because it provides the most stable estimates and is well aligned with the needs of the display design and acquisition communities.