The Differential Contribution of Macular Pigments and Foveal Anatomy to the Perception of Maxwell’s Spot and Haidinger’s Brushes


The relationship of macular pigments and foveal anatomy to the perception of Maxwell’s spot (MS) and Haidinger’s brushes (HB) entoptic phenomena were investigated. Dual-wavelength-autofluorescence and OCT were used to define macular pigment density and foveal anatomy in 52 eyes. MS was generated by alternating unpolarized red/blue and red/green uniform field illumination. HB was generated by alternating the linear polarization axis of a uniform blue field. In Experiment 1, horizontal widths of MS and HB were measured using a micrometer system and compared with macular pigment densities and OCT-defined morphometry. MS radius (mean 1.4°) was significantly less than HB radius (mean 1.6°), with the spatial extent of both phenomena falling between the boundaries of the foveola and foveal pit. Multiple regression showed MS and HB radii to be significantly associated with the macular pigment spatial profile radius. HB radius, but not MS radius, was also significantly associated with foveolar morphometry. Experiment 2 compared perceptual profiles of MS with macular pigment distribution patterns and demonstrated close agreement. The size and appearance of MS is a direct indicator of macular pigment density and distribution. Measures of HB radii are less specific, with dependence on both macular pigment density and foveal structure.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Optometry
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Optometry & Vision Science Research Group (OVSRG)
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Centre for Vision and Hearing Research
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Haidinger’s brushes,Maxwell’s spot,central vision,entoptic phenomena,fovea,macula,macular pigment,polarized light,Ophthalmology,Optometry,Sensory Systems,Cognitive Neuroscience,Cell Biology
Publication ISSN: 0972-2629
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 07:18
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2023 17:01
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Related URLs: https://www.mdp ... 411-5150/7/1/11 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-03
Published Online Date: 2023-02-06
Accepted Date: 2023-01-31
Authors: Misson, Gary P. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-8843-8389)
Heitmar, Rebekka
Armstrong, Richard
Anderson, Stephen J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5719-2846)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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