Thomas Young's contribution to visual optics : the Bakerian lecture "On the mechanism of the eye"

Atchison, David A. & Charman, W. Neil (2010) Thomas Young's contribution to visual optics : the Bakerian lecture "On the mechanism of the eye". Journal of Vision, 10(12), pp. 1-16.

View at publisher (open access)


Thomas Young (1773-1829) carried out major pioneering work in many different subjects. In 1800 he gave the Bakerian Lecture of the Royal Society on the topic of the “mechanism of the eye”: this was published in the following year (Young, 1801). Young used his own design of optometer to measure refraction and accommodation, and discovered his own astigmatism. He considered the different possible origins of accommodation and confirmed that it was due to change in shape of the lens rather than to change in shape of the cornea or an increase in axial length. However, the paper also dealt with many other aspects of visual and ophthalmic optics, such as biometric parameters, peripheral refraction, longitudinal chromatic aberration, depth-of-focus and instrument myopia. These aspects of the paper have previously received little attention. We now give detailed consideration to these and other less-familiar features of Young’s work and conclude that his studies remain relevant to many of the topics which currently engage visual scientists.

Impact and interest:

6 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
8 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

289 since deposited on 11 Nov 2010
23 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 38429
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Accommodation, Astigmatism, Biometry, Chromatic aberration, Gradient index, Historial, Monochromatic aberration, Optometer, Peripheral refraction, Spherical aberration, Thomas Young
DOI: 10.1167/10.12.16
ISSN: 1534-7362
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Vision Science (111303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 ARVO
Deposited On: 11 Nov 2010 02:49
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2015 04:35

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page