Using static depth information, normal observers monocularly perceived equidistance with high accuracy. With dynamic depth information and/or monocular viewing experience, they perceived with high precision. Therefore, monocular patients, who were adapted to monocular viewing, should be able to perceive equidistance and perform related tasks.
This study investigated whether normal observers could accurately and precisely perceive equidistance with one eye, in different viewing environments, with various optical information and monocular viewing experience.
Sixteen normally sighted observers monocularly perceived the distance (5 to 30 m) between a target and the self and replicated it either in some hallways that contained ample static monocular depth information but had a limited field of view or on a lawn that contained less depth information but had a large field of view. Participants remained stationary or walked 5 m before performing the task, as a manipulation of the availability of dynamic depth information. Eight observers wore eye patches for 3 hours before the experiment and gained monocular viewing experience, whereas the others did not. Both accuracy and precision were measured.
As long as static monocular depth information was available, equidistance perception was effectively accurate, despite minute underestimation. Perception precision was improved by prior monocular walking and/or experience with monocularity. Accuracy and precision were not affected by the viewing environments.
Using static and dynamic monocular depth information and/or with monocular experience, normal observers judged equidistance with reliable accuracy and precision. This implied that patients with monocular vision, who are better adapted than participants of this study, should also be able to perceive equidistance and perform distance-dependent tasks in natural viewing environments.