Larry N. Thibos

Professor Emeritus of Optometry

OP 514


  • Ph.D.–1975 (University of California, Berkeley)
Courses Taught

V 648 Neurophysiology of Vision

Visual Psychophysics

Graduate courses in visual neurophysiology, visual psychophysics, quantitative methods, visual optics, research seminars, master's research, and doctoral research.


Larry N. Thibos was educated at the University of Michigan, where he earned BS (1970) and MS (1972) degrees in Electrical Engineering, and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the PhD degree in Physiological Optics (1975) for research on the neurophysiological mechanisms of sensitivity control in the vertebrate retina. During the period 1975-1983 he was a Research Fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, where he investigated the neurophysiology of retinal information processing. In 1983 he joined the Indiana University School of Optometry faculty and is currently Professor of Optometry. Professor Thibos is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, and former Topical Editor for Optometry and Vision Science and for the Journal of the Optical Society of America. His research interests include the effects of optical aberrations of the eye on visual performance, the limits to spatial vision imposed by retinal architecture, and the characterization of vision in the peripheral field. Professor Thibos is a founding member of the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research at Indiana University, where he is applying the results of basic research to the development of new clinical approaches to understanding optical and neural losses of vision.

  • Thibos, L.N. Walsh, D.J. and Cheney, F.E. (1987) Vision beyond the resolution limit: aliasing in the periphery. Vision Res. 27, 2193-2197.
  • Thibos, L.N., Cheney, F.E. and Walsh, D.J. (1987) Retinal limits to the detection and resolution of gratings. J. Opt. Soc. Amer. A 4, 1524-1529.          
  • Thibos, L. N., Bradley, A. and Still, D. (1991). Interferometric measurement of visual acuity and the effect of ocular chromatic aberration. Appl. Opt. 30, 2097-2087.
  • Thibos, L. N., Bradley, A. and Zhang, X. (1991). The effect of ocular chromatic aberration on monocular visual performance. Optom. Vis. Sci. 68, 599-607.
  • Thibos, L.N. and Bradley, A. (1993) New methods for discriminating neural and optical losses of vision. Optom. Vis. Sci. 70, 279-287.
  • Thibos, L. N., Wheeler, W. & Horner, D. (1994). A vector method for the analysis of astigmatic refractive errors. (thibos/PV/pv.html) Vision Science and Its Applications, (Optical Society of America, Washington, DC), 2, 14-17.

  • Principles of Hartman-Shack Aberrometry (Wavefront Sensing Congress 2000)
  • Report from the VSIA Taskforce on Standards for the Reporting of the Optical Aberrations of the Eye (Vision Science and its Applications
  • Proposal for a VSIA Taskforce on Methods and Standards for Reporting Aberration Characteristics of Eyes (Vision Science and its Applications [VSIA 1999])
  • 1999 Distinguished Faculty Lecture
  • 1997 Glenn Fry Award

I am interested in understanding the nature of sensory information processing by the early stages of the visual system. Trained as an engineer, I take a mechanistic approach which is heavily influenced by quantitative theories of communication and signal detection. My early work in retinal neurophysiology in lower vertebrates and mammals retina brings a comparative flavor to my current research into the role of retinal organization and visual optics in setting the limits to visual performance. I am especially interested in understanding peripheral vision, where the fundamental limitations on the quality of human vision imposed by retinal architecture are particularly evident, and on translating that understanding into useful diagnostic tests for clinical care.

A slide show describing SEMOR (Standards for the Electronic Management of Optometric Records)—20 slides are part of a lecture given at the AAO meeting in San Diego, California in December 1994

How to Measure Chromatic Aberration and Locate Useful Reference Axes of the Human Eye—31 slides presented at OSA ’95 meeting in Portland, Oregon in September 1995

Sampling Theory of Visual Resolution and its Clinical Application—34 slides presented at an invited lecture before the North American Perimetric Society on 12 July 1997 in San Rafael, California

My laboratory is well equipped for performing human psychophysical experiments on peripheral and central vision and for measuring the optical quality of the human eye’s optical apparatus. Access to public eye clinics on IU Bloomington campus and at IUPUI permit clinically related, applied research to be carried out on individuals with specific sensory anomalies.

  • Research Summary 1970-1988 
  • Research Summary 1988-1994